CONVICTED double ritual murderer Lehlohonolo Scott has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
This after High Court Judge Teboho Moiloa on Tuesday found him guilty of murdering fellow Koalabata residents, Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (19), in January and June 2012 respectively.
Scott’s co-accused mother, ‘Malehlohonolo received a much lighter sentence. Justice Moiloa said she was an accessory to the crime as she had assisted Scott to commit murder. He sentenced her to 10 years but three of these were suspended. This means that she will serve an effective seven years behind bars.
“I accordingly sentence accused number one (Scott) to life imprisonment without parole,” Justice Moiloa said.
He also sentenced Scott to five years in prison for the unlawful escape from the Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012 while awaiting trial.
“On count three (unlawful escape from custody), the accused is sentenced to five years in prison. The court takes into account that careful planning was executed with the help of external people to help accused number one (Scott to escape).”
Justice Moiloa said Scott fled to South Africa where it was difficult to find him, adding that this indicated that Scott must have had access to highly placed persons who helped him to escape.
Justice Moiloa said Crown Counsel Advocate Gareth Leppan told the court that Scott was extradited to Lesotho by South Africa in 2015 on condition he would not be sentenced to death if found guilty.
“When Scott was extradited the government of Lesotho gave an assurance that Scott would not be sentenced to death and on the basis of that assurance the crown was restrained from pressing for the death penalty.
“I take it that the government of Lesotho made an undertaking to a foreign power to enable the accused to stand trial and in my view, it is important that he stood trial. The crown counsel (Mr Leppan) asked that I impose life sentence on Scott.
“Mr Leppan’s submission is sound. I accordingly sentence accused number one (Scott) to life imprisonment without parole. To remove doubt about the life sentence, accused number one must spend all his life in prison.”
He also deplored the callousness of the murders, saying they must have been premeditated.
“The murders must have been premeditated. Some parts of the body, like the lobe and the heart, were taken off and he (Scott) did not disclose where they are. What we do know is that some of these body parts were taken to their families for burial while others were not.
“Pain and fear must have overwhelmed the victims who were aged 13 and 19 and took Scott as their brother and neighbour.
“Scott showed no remorse about the two killings. He went out to deceive the court by telling lies in his defence. Sometimes he seemed to be enjoying and pleasing those listening to him,” Justice Moiloa said.
Scott and his mother did not show any emotions as the judge delivered the verdict.
‘Malehlohonolo was visibly ill and had to be helped to stay on her feet by her other son, Rethabile, who had carried her into the courtroom for sentencing.
She has previously been diagnosed with arthritis.
Justice Moiloa said she was an accessory to the crime as she had assisted Scott to commit murder.
“I take into account that your (‘Malehlohonolo’s) health is very poor. On the other hand, you are a parent and you are supposed to be responsible for the upbringing of your son. You have a responsibility to God.
“Like a parent, you should have considered the pain to be suffered by the parents’ victims but you ignored it. Someday you will have to face Almighty as we all shall.
“I would not have hesitated to give you a life sentence but I sentence you to 10 years imprisonment suspended for three years on condition that you are not found guilty of any offence in that period,” Justice Moiloa ruled.
Before they were sentenced on Tuesday, their lawyer, Adv Thulo Hoeane, said that Scott acted under the influence of unnamed high-profile people. He however, said there were no extenuating circumstances in the case.
However, Justice Moiloa ruled out the submission and said that it should have been presented as evidence during the trial.
The sentencing brings to an end a case which had dragged on since 2012. After almost two years on the run, Scott was arrested in Durban in 2014. He was extradited to Lesotho on 21 October 2015 and had been in custody while the trial continued.
Justice Moiloa first reserved judgement on 29 October 2019 and promised to deliver it in February 2020. He however, failed to do so as he was still writing the judgement. He eventually delivered the verdict on Tuesday.