Three KwaZulu-Natal men had their 18-year prison sentences changed to the harsher sentence of life imprisonment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) yesterday.
The men, then aged between 20 and 22, murdered Andrew Ferguson, 55, of Pietermaritzburg, in 2002.
The high court in Pietermaritzburg convicted them and sentenced them to 18 years’ imprisonment on the murder charge and 12 years’ imprisonment on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
It found that the three men entered Ferguson’s home in Hayfields, Pietermaritzburg, and stabbed him at least 24 times.
Evidence showed that Ferguson endured various other injuries during the fierce attack.
Afterwards, the men unashamedly walked through a residential area, still wearing bloodstained clothes, and told two acquaintances about what they had done. Ferguson employed one of them as a gardener once a week.
The Director of Public Prosecutions brought the matter on appeal to the SCA, arguing that the sentences were too lenient.
In a unanimous judgment, three appeal judges held that the high court had erred by finding the offences were not premeditated and by placing undue emphasis on the relative youthfulness of the accused.
The SCA described the murder as brutal and savage.
The SCA also ordered, in respect of the charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances, that each of the three accused be sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. — Sapa
Source:Daily Dispatch Online