The Limpopo Polokwane High Court has sentenced a 41-year-old man, Leshate Lazarus Mahlo, of Ga Makanye village, to 22 years direct imprisonment for the deacon murder case.

The accused, Lazarus pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. He was convicted and sentenced as charged. In his plea agreement, the accused stated that on 10 September 2020, he entered Deacon’s homestead, after Sophy Mmako (accused 1), complained that her employers were not paying her accordingly.

She requested the accused to assist in robbing the deceased. She further suggested that Lazarus must approach Owen (unknown to the state) to assist him with the robbery and he agreed.

Owen came with Casper Mudau, (accused 4) to Bendor, upon arrival, Sophy provided the accused with three knives. She opened the gate for them to enter, and find a spot to hide inside the house. Later, the deceased (Elizabeth Catherine Deacon and Hester Francina Deacon) arrived home, they were grabbed and instructed to lie down. In the process of those instructions, Owen, stabbed Elizabeth, multiple times while Hester, was strangled with a rope.

DEACON MURDER CASE

The three accused loaded the deceased inside the motor vehicle and further robbed them off R200.00, whiskies and a Honda SUV motor vehicle. Lazarus then drove deceased car to Mankweng to drop the alcohol at his house. He further proceeded to Chuenespoort, where they were chased by the police and fled the area. In his plea, Lazarus, further admits that after his arrest he cooperated with the police. Confessed immediately and made pointing out as he realised what he did was very wrong. He wanted the family to find closure.

DEATH COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

During the aggravation of the sentence, state Adv. Kobus Jacobs submitted that the death of the two deceased, could have been avoide. The deceased’s family lost a mother, wife, daughter, grandmother, and members of their family who played a very important role in their lives. He further submitted that the offences emanated from greed.

The court sentenced Lazarus Mahlo, to 22 years direct imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances and two counts of murder. The matter is adjourned to 16 January 2023, for further trial of the three accused. Makgaetji Sophy Mmako was released on bail in the Polokwane High Court. Two Zimbabwean nationals, Abibi Advance Hamid, and Casper Mudau will remain in custody.