Trio get hefty sentence for murder of 'talented and humble' retired UKZN professor
The killers of a retired University of KwaZulu-Natal professor, who was gagged, beaten and bound with his pyjama pants, have each been sentenced to an effective 25 years behind bars.
Kwanele Thomas Ntuli, Kwazi Kunene and Simphiwe Charles Ngcoya were sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg high court this week, after they pleaded guilty to the robbery and murder of 83-year-old Francois Jean Hugo in Hilton near Pietermaritzburg earlier this year.
Natasha Kara, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in KwaZulu, said the trio were sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for robbery and 25 years for murder.
“Since the sentences run concurrently, their effective sentence is 25 years' imprisonment.”
“Hugo, a retired UKZN professor, lived alone and the men knew that he often left his doors open.
“They decided to go to his house and rob him with the intention of selling his items.
“When they got there, they found the door open and when Hugo walked in on them, they attacked him,” said Kara.
“They bound his legs and feet and assaulted him, they also tied his pyjama pants tightly around his neck and gagged his mouth.
“In their plea, they acknowledged that by gagging Hugo and tying his pants around his neck, they considered that he could have died, but they continued irrespective.
“The men then packed items such as a laptop, cellphones, shoes, keys and kitchen appliances, belonging to Hugo, into his car and fled.
“They were arrested when they returned to the scene to steal more items.”
Kara said the trio confessed to the crime when they were arrested.
The state presented victim impact statements by Hugo's son, housekeeper, brother-in-law and colleagues.
They all described Hugo as a humble, kind person who was a talented and a valuable member of the community.
His son said the family had suffered a huge loss and they were struggling to get over Hugo’s death.
“This matter was finalised in consultation with the investigating officer and Hugo's family, who had accepted the plea and sentence agreement,” said Kara.