Man Gets Life, Accomplice Jailed 12 Years After Death Of Farmer, 79
Masked pair rode in on horseback with intention to rob
A man was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and a second got 12 years for aggravated robbery over the death of 79-year-old Babu Ram four years ago in Bua.
The pair, Siuta Seru and Asaeli Raboleca appeared before Justice Paul Madigan at the High Court in Labasa.
The first accused, Siuta Seru, who got life, was told to first serve 19 years before he could be eligible for parole.
Seru faced one joint count of aggravated robbery, one count of murder and one for attempted arson.
The court heard that on the August 19, 2012, Seru had been drinking grog followed by rum for some nine hours until 5am.
Prior to this, he had plans with the second accused, Raboleca, to rob the deceased as it was suspected that Ram kept small amounts of money in his house earned from the sale of tobacco and goats.
The pair with their cane knives travelled to Babu Ram’s residence on horseback masked their faces and forcefully demanded money from him. Seru then proceeded to ransack the home. They were only shown a money box with a few coins in it.
Seru, however, found $350 in Babu Ram’s wallet which he took.
It was at this time that a third man approached, calling out the deceased’s name. Raboleca ran outside to scare the visitor away with his knife. Seru then struck the elderly man on his neck with his cane knife. The old men fell to the ground.
With the benzene fuel he found in the house, Seru poured it around the home then lit a match to set the building on fire.
He then escaped through the kitchen door. The duo then met again, rode to their village, Cubue, and shared the money before they reached their homes. The house did not burn. The pathologist report said: “the deceased died from excessive loss of blood due to a deep and severe chop wound to the neck.”
Raboleca was sentenced to 12 years, nine of which he should serve, before he is eligible for parole.
He was charged for one count of aggravated robbery.
Edited by Ranoba Baoa