Man who set ex-girlfriend alight after break-up slapped with a life sentence

Victim’s mother heard her daughter screaming

Ramoula Vernon Brown received a life sentence for killing his ex-girlfriend.
Ramoula Vernon Brown received a life sentence for killing his ex-girlfriend.
Image: Supplied

A 45-year-old man from eDwaleni Trust, in the district of KaBokweni, who set his girlfriend alight after their break-up in 2021 has been sentenced by the Mpumalanga High Court to life imprisonment for premeditated murder and contravention of the Domestic Violence Act.

Ramoula Vernon Brown attacked his girlfriend, Precious Nomthandazo Mnguni, 30, poured petrol over her, and set her alight.

The two were in a romantic relationship and had a child together.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said Brown started following Mnguni after the break-up and assaulted her.

This prompted Mnguni to successfully apply for a protection order.

“Conditions set by the court were for the accused not to assault the deceased, and not to enter the deceased's homestead,” she said.

In the early morning on August 21 2021, Brown went to Mnguni's home with a petrol canister.

“He waited for her to come out of the house and then attacked the deceased, poured petrol over her, forced her to drink it and set her alight.”

“The victim's mother heard her daughter screaming and went to investigate. She found the accused standing over her daughter. She grabbed the accused but was overpowered. The accused fled the scene. The deceased was taken to Themba Hospital, where she succumbed to burn wounds,” Nyuswa said.

Brown pleaded not guilty and gave contradictory evidence, making no  mention of setting Mnguni alight.

Thulani Msibi, senior state advocate, presented evidence from the deceased's mother, who witnessed the burning.

“Another witness testified he saw the accused holding the petrol canister days before the incident. He said the canister he saw the accused carrying was the one found at the crime scene,” she said.

Nyuswa said the court was satisfied the state's case was proved beyond reasonable doubt and the accused was found guilty as charged.

When sentencing the accused, judge Vincent Takalani Ratshibvumo found no substantial and compelling reasons to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

“The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and five years imprisonment for contravention of the Domestic Violence Act. The court ordered the five-year sentence to run concurrent with the sentence of life, the effective sentence being life. The court further declared the accused unfit to possess a firearm in terms of the Firearms Control Act,” she said.


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