French priest’s murderer jailed for 18 years: report
A South African high court on Friday sentenced a 20-year-old man to 18 years in prison for the murder of a French priest two years ago in a shantytown outside Johannesburg.
Nelson Kabelo Malope, 20, confessed that he murdered Father Louis Blondel and robbed him of a computer, a cellphone and a watch, Sapa news agency reported.
In his plea Malope told the court that he and four friends had decided to rob Blondel and fellow priest Guido Bourgeois because they had received an “order” for a computer and wanted money for drugs and alcohol.
Malope said he shot Blondel because he was scared when he saw a man standing in a dark room while he and his friends were ransacking the house in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.
He expressed regret and shame about what he had done and asked the priest’s family and colleagues for forgiveness.
Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi found in Malope’s favour that he was a first offender, was 18 when he committed the crime, had expressed remorse, and that the murder had not been planned.
She said even though Malope had been armed, it appeared the real motive for the crime was robbery.
Blondel came to South Africa in 1987 and lived mainly south of Johannesburg in Soweto and Orange Farm, where he built a church and several community centres.
He moved to Diepsloot in 2008 where he helped build a church and a community house in the shantytown where he was killed.