Long jail terms for men who broke into home of newly widowed woman
A farm attack in Alexandria has ended with long jail terms for two men who accosted a pair of elderly women in January, Eastern Cape police said on Friday. Both were convicted criminals prior to the attack.
Widow Hettie Mostert, 72, had lost her husband just three weeks before the attack. She was with Mayrene Pienaar, 76, a friend who was visiting to console her, when they were confronted by three men who had broken into the house.
They were bound with cable ties and packaging tape to chairs before the men ransacked the house over the course of about two hours.
Police spokesperson Capt Mali Govender said in a statement on Friday that both victims were severely traumatised and had bruises. One of the victims managed to free herself after the men left the house and alerted the police.
The men had fled in Mostert's vehicle, which was tracked to Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.
They were arrested by members of the PE police flying squad. One suspect was shot and died at the scene, said Govender.
The two arrested suspects remained in custody for the duration of the trial, which culminated in their conviction earlier this month.
Lumnkile Manene, 51, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for aggravated robbery and four years for housebreaking with intent to commit robbery.
Zukile Vena, 37, was sentenced to 15 years and four years on the same two counts.
Police said Manene had two previous convictions - robbery and escape from lawful custody. He was on parole, having been released from jail a month prior to the Alexandria farm attack.
Vena had five previous convictions - three for housebreaking, one for theft and one for robbery.
The third suspect, Mphathi Advocate Nkomonde - who was shot dead by police at the time of the arrests - was out on bail for a robbery on a farm in Somerset East.
The Grahamstown high court heard it was a planned robbery on the Alexandria farm, in that they had arrived with bolt cutters, gloves, packaging tape, cable ties and knives.
Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga welcomed the sentences.
"Successful convictions and sentences are based on several pillars including thorough crime-scene management, meticulous statements, honest witness testimony and a solid relationship between the investigator and the National Prosecuting Authority," said Ntshinga.
Advocate Jan Engelbrecht from the office of the director of public prosecutions worked closely with police to prepare the case.