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07 Aug 2008 16:06
Two tik addicts who doused a young woman with petrol before setting her alight in an argument over a missing cellphone were on Thursday each jailed for 24 years.
Myron Daniels (28) and Ashley Lategan (24) appeared in the Cape High Court before Judge Patricia Goliath, who described their incident nearly two years ago as “gruesome and barbaric”.
They were sentenced for the murder of Monique Martins, which took place in a drug den near the Strand.
Although life imprisonment was only one year extra (25 years), the judge said they escaped the extra year due to their youthful ages at the time of the incident and the fact that they were heavily under the influence of a combination of tik and Mandrax.
These two factors constituted compelling and substantial circumstances, justifying a sentence less severe than life imprisonment, the judge said.
Before pronouncing sentence on them, Goliath said that although they would not get life, they would go to jail for a very long time.
A third man, Ashwin Hammers (20), who kicked the girl before she was set alight, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for serious assault.
Goliath said she had hope for Hammers, and would direct that he be held at a youth centre rather than at Pollsmoor Prison. At the youth centre he would receive treatment for drug addiction and be subjected to a programme dealing with aggression control.
The case was a sequel to an incident in which the girl joined the three at the drug den as Daniels’s girlfriend.
Daniels had fallen asleep from the effects of the drug abuse, and as he slept the deceased, who had had Daniels’s cellphone, suddenly realised it was missing.
When Daniels heard that his phone was missing, he said to the girl: “You had better find it or you know what will happen to you.” She was unable to find it and was then physically attacked by Daniels and Lategan.
In the course of the attack, Daniels ordered a teenager with the group to fetch petrol from a nearby garage.
When the petrol arrived, Lategan emptied the container over Martins, and Daniels then set her alight.
The judge said the most chilling part of the incident was that Daniels, Lategan and Hammers had left the girl to burn to death and then gone to a different venue where they continued to smoke tik and Mandrax.
The teenager who had fetched the petrol was found not guilty of murder and discharged.—Sapa
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