Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Guard guilty of dancer's murder

31/03/2009 19:03 - (SA)

Pretoria - Security guard Aaron Mashishi was found guilty on Tuesday of the murder of Pretoria ballerina Estée van Rensburg in a house he was paid to protect.

Pretoria High Court Judge Sullette Potterill will sentence Mashishi on Wednesday.

Mashishi shot dead the 19-year-old woman in her Faerie Glen home in March last year. He was also convicted on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances and eleven charges of theft.

Mashishi admitted that had he robbed Van Rensburg of her car, an evening dress and electronic goods and withdrawn money from her bank account.

He, however, denied killing her.

Van Rensburg's father Koos said he was satisfied that a small measure of justice had been done and he praised the police, prosecution and court for the manner in which the case had been handled.

Claims of accomplice rejected

Potterill rejected Mashishi's claims that an accomplice called Ndoda had used his firearm to kill Van Rensburg.

She said no such accomplice existed or took part in the murder and robbery.

The judge said Mashishi had the direct intention to murder the dancer, who was shot in the head. Instead of protecting the community, Mashishi had scouted the scene by questioning the domestic worker.

He knew a young woman would be home alone, and went to the house in broad daylight, wearing his uniform and using a company vehicle.

Life imprisonment

He gained entry into the house by pointing his firearm at his victim, robbed her of her bank card and forced her to give him her PIN number.

He knew he could be easily identified as working for a security company and used his service firearm to shoot the woman in the head.

The judge said even if she was wrong about the existence of Ndoda, Mashishi was still guilty as he had clearly associated himself with the murder and had by his own admission given Ndoda the firearm in case of any resistance.

Prosecutor JP Marais argued that the robbery was so brazen and callous that the court would not be amiss in imposing life imprisonment for both the murder and the robbery.

Marais argued that the murdered girl's family had not only lost their younger daughter, but also four other children, who were overseas and decided not to return to South Africa.



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