The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban ruled yesterday that Sibonelo Mkhize, the 39-year-old man found guilty of murdering 9-year-old Sadia Sukhraj, will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Judge Esther Steyn sentenced Mkhize to 15 years in prison for robbery and life imprisonment for two counts of murder but has indicated that he intends to apply for leave to appeal. While it was Sadia’s father’s bullet that killed his daughter, Steyn found that the aggravated circumstances from the robbery left Mkhize liable for her murder and the death of his accomplice, Siyabonga Bulose.  Mkhize had pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Bulose was killed while fleeing from the scene.

On the day of the incident, the two allegedly demanded car keys from Shailendra Sukhraj at gunpoint. He threw the keys at them and while both were fleeing the scene with Sadia inside the vehicle. Shailendra then pulled out his licensed firearm and fired severa.l gunshots toward the driver. The Grade 4 pupil at Everest Primary was shot in her abdomen and was taken to Chatsmed Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.