Corrie Sanders’ killers convicted

FILE PICTURE: Friends and family at the funeral of former boxer Corrie Sanders Corrie Sanders on October 1, 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa. The former boxer was killed during an armed robbery. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Theana Breugem)

FILE PICTURE: Friends and family at the funeral of former boxer Corrie Sanders Corrie Sanders on October 1, 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa. The former boxer was killed during an armed robbery. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Theana Breugem)

Three Zimbabwean men who shot former world heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders during a robbery at a lodge near Brits two years ago were today convicted of his murder.

Pretoria High Court Judge Ferdi Preller also convicted Paida Fish, Chris Moyo and Samuel Mabena on charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

Sanders (46) was shot in the stomach in front of his daughter, mother, brother and other family members while attending his nephew’s 21st birthday party.

The celebration turned into a nightmare when a gang of armed robbers stormed into the Thatch Haven Country Lodge outside Brits, started shooting and ordered guests to lie down and hand over their handbags, cellphones and cash.

Sanders died of his injuries in hospital the next day.

The three accused were arrested five days later in the Oukasie informal settlement near Brits after a tip-off.

Fish was found in possession of car keys and a handbag that was robbed that night.

His sim card was used in one of the cellphones of Corrie Sanders’ mother Alida and the robbed cellphone of another guest.

Moyo was arrested with the handbags of two of the guests in his possession. His girlfriend later also handed a robbed cellphone, which she found hidden in a bag of diapers, to the police.

His sim card was used in Mrs Alida Sanders’ other cellphone.

Mabena was found with a purse and R500 belonging to one of the guests in his pocket. He had another party guest’s watch, fastened with elastic bands on his arm.

Judge Preller rejected the accused’s claims that they were innocent. All three had proffered uncorroborated alibis in their defence and could not satisfactorily explain their possession of the robbed goods.

Sanders, who was nicknamed The Sniper, won the World Boxing Organisation’s heavyweight title in March 2003 by defeating Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko with a second round knockout. He retired from boxing five years later.

The trial continues.

 

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