Saturday, 12 December 2009

Brutal farm assault detailed

December 10 2009 at 03:16PM

By Sherlissa Peters

While one of his victims lies critically injured in hospital and the other seeks trauma counselling, a 22-year-old man faces a hefty jail term at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday for the horror attack on a Richmond couple late last month.

Bongumusa Mbanjwa on Wednesday pleaded guilty to one count of housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, and robbery with aggravating circumstances, plus two counts of attempted murder, after an attack on Anthony and Caroline Morris on their Maywood Farm in Richmond on the night of November 28.

Anthony Morris, 65, was stabbed more than 10 times, in the back, neck and hand. He suffered two punctured lungs and spent five days in hospital.

'I am extremely remorseful'

His wife, Caroline, 63, was stabbed in the head and beaten with a hammer.

She suffered a fractured skull and is still in intensive care at a local private hospital.

In his plea yesterday, Mbanjwa said that on the day of the attack he had met two older friends, Barney Dlamini and Skhumbuzo Sithole, at a Richmond bus rank.

"They asked me to assist them to rob a farmer in the area. I was promised a share in the money we intended to steal, so I agreed. Skhumbuzo told me we were going to scare the occupants of the farm," Mbanjwa said.

He said they went to the farm late at night armed with knives. Sithole broke a window, Mbanjwa said, and "all three of us entered the house through the window".

He said they found the couple asleep in the bedroom.

"As we entered, Skhumbuzo stabbed Caroline Morris. I held Anthony Morris down while Barney tried to stab him, but he accidentally stabbed my hand instead." He then let go of Morris's neck and grabbed his legs, allowing Dlamini to assault Morris.

After he bound the couple's hands and feet, the trio demanded money. The terrified pair showed the attackers the keys to the safe.

They fled with three firearms, ammunition and cash, of which Mbanjwa said he got R3 000.

"I am extremely remorseful and apologise to the victims for what I have done," he said.

Mbanjwa was arrested by a special task team on December 1, when he immediately indicated that he was willing to assist the police in their investigations.

Both Sithole and Dlamini appeared in the Richmond Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. They have been linked to an attack a day after the Maywood Farm incident on another farm in Richmond, in which no one was injured.

Addressing the court in aggravation of sentence on Wednesday, prosecutor Candy Kander said: "This was a brutal assault on two victims who were attacked as they slept, and posed no threat."

She said that Morris, a dairy farmer, was still unable to sleep at his home since the attack.

"While he believes his physical wounds will heal, the deep trauma will remain with him for a long time to come," she said.

Mbanjwa is expected to be sentenced today.

This article was originally published on page 7 of Daily News on December 10, 2009


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