Greedy gardener jailed after he killed Durban woman who gave him a job, food and accommodation

Lifelong gardener Siviwe Magugu, 37, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 67-year-old Rajani Devi Reuben-Murray.

Magugu, who had been employed as Reuben-Murray’s gardener, strangled her in her Foresthaven home during a robbery in September 2022.

Handing down the sentence, Durban High Court Judge Makhosi Hadebe declared that Magugu’s actions were “solely propelled by greed,” adding a poignant observation:  “THE very same hands that she gave to, were the very same hands that silenced her…”

Judge Hadebe condemned Magugu’s lack of remorse throughout the trial, questioning his claims of regret while refusing to accept responsibility for the crime. 

State prosecutor, advocate Gugu Xulu, echoed this sentiment, stating, “He told the court that he had a good relationship with the victim but it did not stop him from attacking and killing her.”

The court heard how Magugu stole the victim’s television, appliances, and jewelry, struggling to carry the stolen goods as captured on surveillance footage. 

Xulu emphasized the impact on the victim’s son, Vickranth, who discovered his mother’s body, saying,  “He kept denying it, causing the family to relive the traumatic way in which she died. Vickranth found the deceased in the state she was in after the murder.”

Despite defense arguments for rehabilitation, Judge Hadebe questioned whether Magugu deserved to rejoin the very society he had scorned, stating,  “Must the court send him back to the same society he scoffs at? The deceased had no obligation to offer him food or give him a job.”

With his life sentence, Siviwe Magugu will now face the consequences of his brutal betrayal of trust, serving as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of greed and violence.

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