Killers of artist Clinton de Menezes sentenced to life

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

The three men convicted of killing artist Clinton de Menezes were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Durban High Court on Friday.

Judge Ester Steyn said that she could find no substantial or compelling reason to deviate from the prescribed minimum 25 years of imprisonment for De Menezes’s murder. Family members of Siyabonga China Khoza, 25, Lungani Tevin Ngidi, 23 and Bongani Makhatini, 28, sobbed loudly as Steyn handed down her sentence.

Fisto Alimasi, 26, was sentenced to six years imprisonment for receiving stolen goods that the trio had taken from their victims. “When you killed him, you robbed a wife and a young girl of the most precious thing they have; a husband and a father,” Steyn told the killers.

She said the impact of the killing went beyond De Menezes’s immediate family. Khoza, Ngidi and Makhatini were convicted in March of robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, murder and housebreaking. Alimasi, a Democratic Republic of Congo national, was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking.

De Menezes was killed on December 31, 2013, when he was shot in the chest as he attempted to stop Khoza, Ngidi and Makhatini from entering the house of Simon Malpas where he was visiting with his daughter and wife.

Before the De Menezes shooting, the trio broke into the home of Graham and Barbara Payne, shooting Payne in the hip on the night of December 13, 2013. On December 29, 2013 they broke into the home of Gail Hamilton.

“In all of the robberies the victims were taken by surprise at their homes, places of sanctuary. There was no need for you to act the way you did, except you were greedy.” Speaking to Alimasi, Steyn said: ” You undoubtedly created a market for the goods that were taken from the victims.”

She described his role as being a prominent one. De Menezes’s sister, Jacqui Durandt, who on Thursday told the court that the shooting had devastated the family, was too emotional to speak after the sentencing. Graham Payne, who on Thursday told the court that he and his wife had been forced to sell the house in which they had lived for 33 years in a bid to achieve a sense of security, said he was glad the trial was over.

“I don’t feel any vengeance. I am glad it is over and we must move on.”

The trio were also sentenced to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, eight years for attempted murder, and 15 years for each of the house breaking charges. Ngidi was also sentenced to four years for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. The sentences are to run concurrently.

De Menezes had lived in London and was living in Kenya at the time of his death. According to Durandt, he had planned to return to South Africa after living in Kenya for three years and that he wanted to live in Westville.

His work was displayed in galleries in New York and London and his death made international headlines.


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