The Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal sentenced Nkosiyezwe David Gwala, 43, to two life sentences for the murder and rape of an elderly woman on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the sentence came after the court heard how Gwala killed 62-year-old Thandi Magwaza from Inchanga.

Mbele said on the morning of 14 December 2019, Magwaza left her home in Inchanga and did not return.

“A missing persons docket was opened at Inchanga SAPS by her family for investigation and a search was conducted. On 16 December 2019, her lifeless body was found in the bushes by the members of the community and the police with no visible injuries. An inquest docket was opened for investigation.

“A post-mortem was conducted and revealed that the victim was raped and strangled to death. The inquest docket was changed to charges of murder and rape. The docket was assigned to a dedicated investigating officer who investigated the matter further.

Mbele also said “The investigation led the investigating officer to the deceased’s neighbour Nkosiyezwe Gwala who was placed under arrest on 22 December 2019. He made several court appearances and bail was denied at court. He was kept behind the bars until he was sentenced”.

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, praised the investigating officer for putting the accused behind the bars.

He said “This is evidence that a well-prepared docket was presented at court to secure a successful sentence,” he said.