THREE KwaZulu-Natal men had their 18-year prison sentences changed to the harsher sentence of life imprisonment by the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday.
The men, then aged in their twenties, murdered Andrew Ferguson of Pietermaritzburg in 2002.
The high court in Pietermaritzburg had convicted them and sentenced them to 18 years' imprisonment on the murder charge and 12 years' imprisonment on a charge of robbery.
The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
It found that the three entered Ferguson's home and stabbed him at least 24 times.
Afterwards, they unashamedly walked through a residential area, still clothed in bloodstained clothes, and told two acquaintances about what they had done.
Ferguson had employed one of them as a gardener once a week.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had 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 erred by finding the offences were not premeditated and for placing undue emphasis on the youthfulness of the accused. The SCA described the murder as brutal and savage. - Sapa