May 31 2006 at 03:20PM
By Sherlissa Peters
Increasingly disturbed by the racial connotation attached to so-called "farm killings", KwaZulu-Natal judge president Vuka Tshabalala on Tuesday handed down a life sentence to one of the men found guilty of the murder of Jacqueline Ivy Chatterton amid shouts of thanks and tears of relief from her friends and family.
Chatterton was stabbed close to 40 times on her Boston farm, Mantshonga, on October 31 last year by Thuthukani Miya and his co-accused, David Ndlovu.
Their trials were separated after Ndlovu pleaded guilty, while Miya maintained his innocence of the murder.
'The residents of New Zealand think we are a brutal people'
Ndlovu was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Pietermaritzburg High Court last week. In sentencing, Tshabalala said the alarming rise in farm killings was giving South Africa a bad name.
"When I was in New Zealand, I watched a television special about South Africa, depicting farm killings in Richmond.
"The residents of New Zealand think we are a brutal people in South Africa. It is deeply upsetting," he said.
The judge said this was extremely bad for the country's reputation and economy.
"For two people to chase a defenceless woman, who is screaming for help, and then stab her all over the place is behaviour so savage and brutal that no factors can justify this conduct," Tshabalala said.
'Jacqui can rest in peace now that her murderers have been brought to book'
Chatterton was stabbed 22 times in the back, thrice in her left lung and six times in her right lung. She sustained a stab wound to the neck, two stab wounds to her left arm, five wounds to her face and one stab wound to the scalp.
The post-mortem showed that Chatterton was stabbed with two different knives: a pocket knife and a larger, fixed blade knife. Ndlovu was previously employed on the Chatterton farm, but left following an alter-cation with another staff member.
Miya told the court that when Ndlovu asked him to accompany him to the farm, he did not suspect anything was wrong.
Miya said he and Ndlovu had waited in the laundry of the farm until James, Chatterton's husband, went outside to walk their dogs.
He said he watched as Ndlovu put a stocking over his head and was shocked when he ran into the house with a knife.
Miya said he subsequently ran inside, closing the door to prevent James from entering the house after he heard Chatterton screaming for help.
Miya said when the woman grabbed his clothing, he was shocked and "stabbed at" her. But after he escaped the house through the bathroom window, Miya burnt his clothes and told family members he had " stabbed the white woman".
Tshabalala said while Ndlovu had a personal gripe with the Chattertons, Miya had no business being on their property that night.
He agreed with state prosecutor Deelan Naidoo, who said it was as if Chatterton had been hunted down by a pack of wild dogs after she was track-ed from room to room, being stabbed 22 times in the back as she fled from her assailants.
A family friend of the Chattertons, Judy Anderson, who has supported the, throughout the court proceedings, said the family were happy and relieved with the sentence.
"Jacqui can rest in peace now that her murderers have been brought to book. Justice has been served," she said.
Chatterton is survived by her husband James, and two children, a son and daughter.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Daily News on May 31, 2006