Pilgrim's Rest tourist killer gets life

Golf caddie Prince Mogane was jailed for life by the Middelburg Circuit Court on Thursday for murdering British tourist Diane Conway in the Royal Hotel in Pilgrim’s Rest, Mpumalanga in October.

Judge Eben Jordaan also sentenced him to an additional 44 years in prison on four other charges, including the attempted murder of Conway’s husband Jon, armed robbery and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Jordaan said that even if it were not for the legislation prescribing life as a minimum sentence for murder executed as part of an armed robbery, he would have used his discretion to hand down the same sentence.

Mogane’s youth alone did not present a substantive and compelling factor causing him to consider a lesser sentence: “A life sentence for a 19-year-old is not strange in our law.”

After the murder, Mogane spent the money he robbed from the Conways and went to a tavern.

“This does not illustrate remorse at all.” Mogane’s “remorse” seemed the type of remorse one had after being arrested, he said.

Defence counsel Bennie Brummer argued that Mogane was influenced by hotel waiter Richard Mashego, who is more than double his age.

However, Jordaan said: “It seems as if he needed very little persuasion to participate in the plan.”

One could not overemphasise the interests of the community in a case like this, the judge said.

“The tourism industry is of crucial interest for the country’s economy and for its people.”

People like Mogane knew tourists normally had large sums of money with them, Jordaan said.

“Tourists are soft targets who are viciously hunted. They are often stolen from, robbed and raped, and in this case, murdered. A message needed to be sent to people that actions like Mogane’s would not be tolerated.

“A message also needs to be sent to the world out there that the authorities and the courts per se would act to ensure our country is a safe tourist destination where tourists will want to come and where their lives and property are not threatened by criminals without a conscience.” - Sapa

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