Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Farm worker to be sentenced for murder

June 02 2008 at 07:28PM

A grey-haired farm worker, who previously escaped the death penalty for murder, will be sentenced on Friday for slitting his female employer's throat and sexually violating her body.

Amos Zulu, 57, earlier this year admitted guilt in the Pretoria High Court to charges of murdering and robbing his employer, 76-year-old Bronkhorstspruit farmer Johanna Maria Erasmus, of her cellphone.

He denied guilt to a rape charge. Acting Judge Peter Mabuse however found him guilty of violating Erasmus' corpse after hearing evidence that Zulu's semen was found inside her body.

Zulu had numerous previous convictions, including for assault and rape. He was sentenced to death for murder in the early 1980s. The sentence was set aside and he was released from prison after serving less than ten years.

He admitted in a statement that he had lost his temper and slit Erasmus' throat after an argument because he was late for work. Afterwards, he carried on with his duties as if nothing had happened.

Social worker Matome Manyama said in a pre-sentencing report that Zulu, who worked as a tractor driver for Erasmus and her son, had told him he "missed" his victim.

"My actions were uncalled for and my heart hurts. I miss the deceased. She was very kind to me to an extent that she gave me two goats," Zulu told Manyama.

Zulu's lawyer argued that the murder had not been pre-meditated and that Zulu took the cellphone on a whim after he killed Erasmus. The court was urged to consider the fact that Zulu had admitted guilt as an indication of remorse.

The prosecution argued that life imprisonment was the only correct sentence, as Zulu seemed not to have benefited from previous stints in jail and had abused his position of trust.

The court was told that Erasmus' family had trusted Zulu to such an extent they never suspected him of being involved in her murder.

Judge Mabuse postponed sentencing to Friday. - Sapa


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