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Man who locked his family inside and set house on fire jailed for life

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The police said the man locked the family inside the house and furthermore pushed a couch against the door to ensure that no one would escape. He then set the house on fire.

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment after he poured petrol in a house, locked his family inside and set the place on fire. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

THE HIGH Court in Mpumalanga sentenced 30-year-old Morgan Mashiya to life imprisonment after being charged with murder, attempted murder and arson.

The court heard that on August 18 last year, Mashiya bought petrol and poured it inside the house he was occupying with his girlfriend, only identified as Nkosimphile, and their daughter.

“He then locked the three – himself, his girlfriend as well as their daughter – inside the house and furthermore pushed the couch against the door to ensure that no one escapes. He then set the house on fire,” Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said.

“While the house was in flames, he (Mashiya) shouted for help and managed to grab the keys and threw them outside through the window. He managed to escape and left the two inside.”

Mohlala said Nkosimphile covered her daughter with a blanket and also managed to get out of the house, but with serious burn wounds. Nkosimphile died three days later.

“The accused (Mashiya) was arrested on the same day. He was subsequently charged, put on trial and convicted,” Mohlala said.

Mashiya was sentenced as follows:

  • Life imprisonment for a count of murder.
  • Five years in jail for attempted murder of his seven-year-old daughter.
  • Five years for arson.

The court ordered that the sentences run concurrently.

The provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Manamela, lauded the “sterling work” done by the investigation team, the prosecution, as well as the judiciary in bringing Mashiya to book.

She said the hefty sentence will serve as a deterrent to “wannabe criminals”.

“This will also assist in bringing closure to the matter, especially to the affected families. The issue of gender-based violence is on the national agenda and I will ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book without any hesitation,” Manamela said.

“I am also very happy that I see more and more convictions in these cases. This will bring hope to the community.”

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