November 26 2008 at 09:35AM
By Karen Breytenbach
The State has asked the Cape High Court to find a self-confessed burglar from Lwandle guilty of breaking into an elderly couple's house on a Gordon's Bay golf estate in 2005, murdering the man and attempting to kill his wife.
Prosecutor Simphiwe Vakele said the accused, Rhanya Mthelo, committed these crimes with two others, with whom he shared a common purpose to steal items from the house and kill the occupants. No other arrests were made.
Vakele said one of the men smashed the window with a crowbar and went straight for retired pension broker Peter Howel, who was beaten repeatedly with the crowbar.
Pamela Howel was stabbed in the chest, but escaped.
Vakele argued that she probably would have been killed if she had not managed to flee.
He said the fact that she was stabbed in the chest indicated that the robbers intended to kill her.
Defence Advocate Ellen Fitz-Patrick said her client admitted to breaking into the house, but his version was that he grabbed the television set and ran into the bushes.
She argued that he did not see or participate in an attack on the couple.
Fitz-Patrick said Mrs Howel testified to seeing three men outside the house before the window was broken, but saw only two inside.
She said this corresponded with her client's version that he left the premises soon after the window was broken.
"His intent was only to steal. Someone had to carry the television," she said.
Judge Andre le Grange warned Fitz-Patrick that Mrs Howel's version on this aspect was never attacked in cross-examination.
Judgment will be delivered on Thursday.
This article was originally published on page 4 of Cape Times on November 26, 2008