June 27 2006 at 05:05AM
A Witbank engineering student who shot dead a 17-year-old childhood friend when she refused to have sex with him was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment.
Themba Mthombeni was given a life sentence plus 15 years in prison on charges of murder, abduction, violating a body, attempted rape and the unlawful possession of a firearm.
Pretoria High Court Judge Mahomed Ismail said the court could not be blinded by Themba Mthombeni's youth or feel sorry for him.
"I am perplexed why a person with so much potential would resort to such horrible crimes.
'A human life was taken as a result of your actions'
"The manner in which you acted cannot be tolerated. A human life was taken as a result of your actions. Society cannot condone or tolerate this type of conduct where people resort to violence for the slightest excuse or provocation," said Ismail.
Emotional family members wept and had to be consoled. They sat in silence in court for several minutes after hearing Mthombeni was going to jail for at least the next 25 years.
Mthombeni earlier admitted that in April 2003 he had forced Thandiwe Masimula, 17, to accompany him to his dormitory room at gunpoint. He shot her in the neck when she refused to have sex with him, before raping her.
After locking her body in his room, he went in search of other victims to rape. He pointed a firearm at two school teachers who passed him in the street with the intention of raping them as well. He fled after one of them sprayed him with mace.
He later returned to Thandiwe's room, where he tried to rape her room-mate, but fled when her screams alerted a neighbour. His young victim's decomposing body was found in his room several days later. Ismail earlier referred to the crimes as "glaringly heinous".
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on June 27, 2006