Farmworker admits guilt in ‘atrocious’ murders

Farmworker admits guilt in ‘atrocious’ murders.
Farmworker admits guilt in ‘atrocious’ murders.
Image: STOCK

A Balfour farmworker who killed his employer and three other family members when refused a loan has been convicted of murder‚ rape‚ robbery with aggravating circumstances‚ and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

An accomplice has been convicted of receiving stolen property in connection with the farm attack a year ago. The pair were cornered the same day‚ despite opening fire on police in a futile bid to evade arrest.

Mpumalanga police said the two entered guilty pleas this week for their roles in the “atrocious murder of a family of four”‚ at a farm in Balfour. They were accordingly convicted by the Circuit of the Pretoria High Court sitting in Delmas.

The court heard that in June 2017‚ Amos Mthembu‚ aged 28‚ who was an employee of the victims‚ had tried borrowing money from them‚ but could not be assisted. Mthembu and accomplice‚ 37-year-old Prince Mngomezulu‚ then murdered his employer‚ Gert Smuts (78)‚ his wife Paulina (70)‚ as well as their son Louis (47) and daughter-in-law Belinda Smuts (42). They also sexually abused Belinda Smuts.

They fled in the victims’ Toyota Prado but were spotted the same day in Balfour. When police approached them‚ they opened fire. Police retaliated and Mngomezulu sustained a gunshot wound. Both were arrested. Inside the vehicle‚ police found a laptop and a 9mm pistol‚ which was successfully linked to the murder of the victims through ballistic tests.

Sentencing will commence on July 27.

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