A very cowardly and cruel crime that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
That was the reaction Wednesday of Magistrate Adriaan Bekker in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court when he sentenced three farm attackers who brutally assaulted a couple during a robbery.
Bekker told Lucky Mabona, David Sibanyoni and Sam Thabethe that the robbery of Gail (then 62) and Leslie (then 65) Adlam on their farm near Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, was accompanied by “extreme violence”, which was totally unnecessary. .
All three accused were earlier convicted on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Sibanyoni was also convicted on the charge of burglary with intent to rob.
Thabethe was also convicted of unlawful possession of the Adlams shotgun.
The Adlam couple woke up on the evening of May 17, 2013, when the three men entered their bedroom.
Leslie was hit over the head with PVC pipes. When he fell, one of the attackers jumped on his head. He lost consciousness.
Gail was so badly assaulted that she slipped into her own blood at one point. She was beaten and kicked and strangled with a cable. The Adlams were also burnt with a hot iron.
Gail fought back fiercely and even bit one attacker. The assaults stopped when she finally pretended to lose consciousness.
Adv. Prosecutor Hanna Conradie said during his argument that the victims’ age should be taken into account. Not only were they vulnerable elderly people, as indicated by the Elderly Laws of 2006, but the crime was also committed against a woman.
“Mrs. Adlam was brutally assaulted without being able to defend herself against three young offenders, ”he said.
Bekker said during sentencing, incidents of people breaking into homes and committing robbery are common in that court’s jurisdiction. The victims are very traumatized and their lives change forever.
“In addition, the medical reports show how serious their injuries were. This was a very cowardly and cruel attack, ”Bekker said.
However, he added that the court is not the mouthpiece of the community, but has a duty to strike a balance between all the factors.
“The big (other) factor that needs to be taken into account is the long period of time that the accused were already awaiting trial. Some of them were (respectively) six and seven years in prison, ”the magistrate explained.
He effectively served Mabona, who was convicted of robbery on aggravated circumstances, for 10 years in prison,
Sibanyoni, who was also convicted of housebreaking, will spend 12 years behind bars.
Thabethe, who also took the shotgun in addition to the robbery, was sentenced to an effective 15 years in prison.
All three were also declared unfit to possess firearms.