Cape Town – A man who smoked a mixture of dagga and crushed mandrax — known in the criminal underworld as “witpyp” — before stabbing an elderly woman multiple times in the chest and neck, was found guilty of murder and aggravated robbery on Friday.
Ryan Faure, 29, appeared in the Parow Regional Court, before magistrate Constance Nziweni, who remanded him to March 13, when a friend is to testify on his behalf in mitigation of sentence.
He initially faced charges of housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, aggravated robbery and murder, but the magistrate ruled that the housebreaking charge was an unnecessary “splitting of charges”, and convicted him of murder and aggravated robbery only.
Both charges carried life sentences, she said.
The case was a sequel to the murder of Susan Loubser, 79, in her home in the Cape Town suburb of Ryterwacht, in May, 2015.
Her son, who lived nearby, found her body on her bed, after neighbours heard screaming coming from her home about 8pm that night, and notified him.
Her bleeding body had been dragged from the front door onto her bed.
The deceased woman’s flat-screen TV set was stolen in the robbery.
Faure’s defence was a flat denial of any involvement in the incident, and when questioned by prosecutor Daniel Cloete about his possession of the TV set, he claimed that a friend had given it to him that night, in order to find a buyer.
Faure said his friend had found the TV set abandoned in the street.
Faure claimed in court that he was the victim of a “large conspiracy”, which had resulted in the charges.
He was brought to book after he boasted about the murder to a friend, and confessed to the police.
In court he claimed that he was forced by the police to make the confession.
The magistrate said Faure wanted the court to believe that he was in fact the victim of a conspiracy but, on the totality of the evidence, this was so inherently improbable as to be rejected as false.
She ruled that the confession to the police was in fact made voluntarily, and that it amounted to an admission of guilt.
The defence requested that Faure’s bail be extended, pending the next hearing.
However, the magistrate said his earlier release on bail had been on the basis of the presumption in law of his innocence, until proven guilty.
Now that he had in fact been found guilty, the picture was totally different, she said.
She said he now faced two life sentences, which turned him into a flight risk.