Murdered 9 February 2006, 6-days after his 28th Birthday.

By Lucasta Stephen

line decor
Good Samaritan's killer jailed for life. Date Posted: Tuesday 24-Apr-2007

The only consolation for the parents of a "kind and caring man", who was hijacked and murdered while on a mission of kindness, is that one of the killer gang could not cause similar heartbreak to other people.

This was how bereaved parents Keith and Aileen Stephen felt after Fana Khenyisa, 26, of Hillcrest was jailed for life on Monday for the murder of their 28-year-old son, Lyle Stephen.

Khenyisa was also given 15 years in jail by the Pietermaritzburg High Court for robbing Stephen and his friend Justin Roberts.

Acting Judge Jerome Mnguni said the legislature had enacted that deterrent sentences should be imposed for these crimes, which were perpetrated in alarming frequency throughout the country.

Stephen was shot and killed while he and Roberts were taking food parcels to an orphanage in February last year.

Khenyisa said he took part in the murder and robbery as he was afraid the gunman Nico Zikale - who was also part of the gang - would shoot him if he did not do so.

He helped pull the wounded Stephen from his car, leaving him on the side of the road, after which his gang of four drove off in Stephen's car.

Roberts told the court he tried to flag down passing cars for quite a while before a motorist picked them up to take Stephen to hospital.

Stephen was however dead when they arrived at the hospital.

Mnguni said if courts did not punish such wrongdoers severely, the affected community would be tempted to take the law into their own hands. This would undermine the criminal justice system.

Stephen's mother, Aileen told the court that her son, known as Gentle Giant to his friends, had taught underprivileged children music and shown them how to make drums.

He was so caring that he gave a car to a poor family and was known to take off his shoes to give to a shoeless man, she said.

Mnguni said Khenyisa had common purpose with the other gang members - to rob Stephen of his car - and had associated himself with the conduct of the gang.

The judge said the gravity of the crimes and the interest of society far outweighed any substantial and compelling circumstances that would allow him to depart from the prescribed life sentence for the murder and 15 years for the aggravated robbery. - Sapa

Please click to read one of the News Paper articles.