The boyfriend of a policewoman whose burnt remains were found in a car in Nyoni, KwaZulu-Natal, in January last year has been sentenced to life behind bars for her murder

The Mtunzini High Court convicted and sentenced Lucky Masinga, 35 – as well as his 38-year-old accomplice Vincent Zikhali – to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for armed robbery and five years for kidnapping.

Both men were sentenced on May 17 after the judge heard how they had killed Constable Senzeni Zibuyisile Msipha, 36, last year.

Msipha, who was stationed at Mtunzini police station, was off duty at the time of her killing.

A third accused – Siyabonga Khumalo, 29 – is already serving a 39-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to her murder on 18 April last year.

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On 31 January last year, Nyoni police officers attended to a complaint of what appeared to be an accident along the P266 road.

When police arrived at the scene, they discovered a vehicle on fire and found the driver burnt beyond recognition.

A case of culpable homicide was opened at the Nyoni police station.

In the meantime, the Gingindlovu police station was investigating a missing persons docket after Msipha was reported missing from her home at Gingindlovu. She had last been seen alive with Masinga, and had not returned home.

“Following an intensive investigation by Nyoni detectives, they managed to link the missing person docket with the culpable homicide case that they were investigating,” said police spokesperson Colonel Thulani Zwane.

“Her [Msipha’s] boyfriend and his friends were arrested. The docket was changed to murder after evidence indicated that the victim was killed before she was burnt. Results of DNA samples taken from the remains of the burnt body concluded that it was that of Constable Msipha,” Zwane said.

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