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Judge Clive Plaskett has sentenced Bongani Paulos to 16 years in prison for the murder of Reverend Clive Newman and the theft of his possessions.
Paulos held his gaze firmly fixed on the judge throughout the sentencing. Before giving the final verdict, Plaskett described Paulos as “an honest and open witness who showed genuine remorse” during the trial and fully co-operated with the police. He also stated that the court was made aware of how Paulos had made the “most of unfortunate circumstances while growing up” as he was raised in a foster home and this makes him a good candidate for rehabilitation.
Plaskett also told the court that as much as both offences are of a serious nature, what made them more serious is the fact that the accused left a note on the door and by so doing “made sure the deceased wouldn't be missed for a while.” He added that stealing Newman's car might be “understandable" as the accused needed to get away but stealing the other possessions was not.
He then sentenced Paulos to an accumulative sentence of 16 years, with 12 years for murder and four years for theft. The 45 year-old reverend and lecturer of theology was clubbed to death in his room at the College of the Transfiguration on the weekend of 7 November.
The cause of death, as stated in the post mortem report, was said to be blunt force with lacerations to the scalp and brain as well as skull fractures.
Newman's brother, Alastair, said: “When that guy left my brother, he was not alive. It was just the reflexes of his body that made him look like he was moving.”
Alastair also stated that he is unhappy about the way the case was handled and that he feels cheated by the justice system. “The guy could have gotten life if they did not differentiate between the two [murder and theft].”
Regarding Paulos' testimony, he paused and said, “It was calculated. The guy did not show any genuine remorse for the incidents.” Rev Andrew Hunter, The Dean of the Cathedral of St Michael and St George said, “Though I was not here for the trial, the assessment of the case and the sentence sounds fair to me and I appreciate the judge's findings and reasons for a lesser sentence.”
He also stated that it is a “huge tragedy for both Clive's family and the accused's. I am deeply heartbroken for all and am saddened by the circumstances.” Rev Hunter's wife Claire said: “I am weeping for both families and I pray that they can pick up the pieces of their lives after this.”
Newman's mother, Jacqueline Sunley, said, “Clive was a man of peace. He would probably agree with the judge on the sentence only because he felt the guy is a candidate for rehabilitation.
The reason why I say this is because he used to bail people out of jail." Alastair on the other hand said, “If the state attorney had suggested and asked for a stronger sentence, the guy would have gotten more because this is the exact sentence he suggested." He added that when people “rush to justice, a lot of stuff falls along the way.”
He said Paulos' plea was accepted by the court but more questions should have been asked. “The guy was not asked where he slept between Cape Town and Colchester. If he slept in the bushes, why couldn't he do so here in Grahamstown?” he asked.