Lengthy jail terms for trio who killed 83-year-old retired UKZN professor in his home

By Jolene Marriah-Maharaj Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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Durban - Three men who killed a retired UKZN Art professor in his Hilton, Pietermaritzburg home in April this year have been jailed for 25 years.

Kwanele Thomas Ntuli, 29, Kwazi Kunene, 29, Simphiwe Charles Ngcoya, 36, all from Sweetwaters in Pietermaritzburg, pleaded guilty to the murder of Francois Jean Hugo. They were represented by Legal Aid SA attorney Amanda Hulley.

The 83-year-old retired professor from the Art faculty at UKZN was murdered at his Walters Road, home between April 27 and April 28 2021.

The trio pleaded guilty to murder, robbery with aggravating circumstance and housebreaking with intent to commit robbery in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday before Judge Rishi Seegobin.

According to a sentence and plea agreement, they told the court they had heard about an “old white man” who lived alone and never worries to lock his doors.

They decided to rob the deceased because they wanted money for food and to smoke.

Ntuli said they knew that Hugo was old so there was no need to carry weapons.

He said when they arrived at the home, they jumped over the fence and walked into the open door and grabbed the deceased as he was exiting the bathroom.

They tied him in his bedroom, using a belt to tie his legs, and an extension chord for his hands.

Realising that he may scream for help, they tied his pyjama pants around his mouth and gagged him.

They proceeded to steal all Hugo’s valuables including cellphones, laptops, stereo, kitchen utensils and other valuable items.

After loading all the items into Hugo’s Toyota Tazz, the accused drove off, without untying him.

The trio said it did cross his mind that the accused might die, if he did not get help on time.

He said they sold the items and abandoned the car.

The accused said when he was arrested on May 4, 2021 it was the first time he heard of Hugo’s death and co-operated with police.

All three said they were remorseful for their actions.

They were sentenced to 15 years for house robbery and 25 years for murder, both sentences will run concurrently.

In a victim impact statement, presented to the court by State Advocate Mbongeni Mthembu, Hugo’s son Charles described his father as gentle, peaceful and kind man.

“It is more than six months I received the call from my sister. She told me that my father had been found murdered in his house with his dog lying next to his body whining and trembling in fear.

“Every day I wonder what kind of person would kill and elderly and defenceless for apparently no reason at all.”


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