Durban – A 33-year old man, who went on a stabbing spree during which he killed a teenager and injured several others has been sentenced to 23 years in jail.
Simphiwe Mthethwa said he could not remember his crimes. Instead, he dreamt he was being chased by people armed with knives and guns.
He was sentenced on Tuesday on murder and assault charges stemming from what Ntuzuma Regional Court Magistrate Erenskia la Grange described as a “brutal and barbaric” attack.
During the trial, it emerged that Mthethwa attacked Bonisile Ndlozi, 14, on September 15, 2018, in Inanda as she walked to a toilet outside her home. He stabbed the Grade 8 pupil several times.
Her aunt, Mamsi Khumalo, saw the incident and ran towards the house but Mthethwa attacked her, too, and stabbed her several times. However, she was able to get into the house and lock Mthethwa out.
Mthethwa, armed with two knives, continued his rampage at the next house – where he stabbed a 66-year-old woman. People who tried to stop him and pelted him with rocks were stabbed, too.
Mthethwa continued his spree when police arrived and stabbed an officer in the leg, before being shot and subdued. He claimed he was unaware of his actions until he woke up in hospital and staff there told him of his deeds. He was found guilty in March this year.
During sentencing, prosecutor Kaystree Ramsamujh said murder and assault were serious matters. She pointed out that Bonisile had not posed a threat to him. “She was on her way to the lavatory the life of a child was cut short.”
Ramsamujh said Mthethwa had not shown any remorse for his actions and had not explained why he committed the crimes. She said there was no prospect of him being rehabilitated.
Khumalo said, in a victim impact statement, that she had raised Bonisile as her own daughter from when she was 4 and that she’d had a bright future. “She was everything to me, we were very close,” she said.
Khumalo said it hurt her that the attack had happened in her own home, and the family was not coping with the trauma from the incident. She lived in fear and was afraid to do the laundry outside now.
“Before the incident, he was not a bad child and finished matric,” he argued.
The attorney said a relative of Mthethwa’s had noted that his behaviour had changed to being erratic, where he believed he was being chased by people and would sometimes hide under the bed. The relative believed Mthethwa was a victim of Satanism. Khumalo asked that psychiatric assistance be part of his sentence.
In her sentencing, La Grange noted that the court had dealt with many violent crimes committed against women and children, including at their homes, where they should be safe.
She sentenced him to 18 years for murder and five years for assault. The sentences are to run consecutively, giving him a 23-year term.
Mthethwa showed no reaction to the sentence.
Khumalo said: “Even though my child won’t come back, I am happy with the sentence. At least he won’t be coming back. I can breathe easier now. My only concern now is that of my granddaughter, who was so traumatised by the events that it has affected her ability to study. She used to be a smart child, but now she struggles.”