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Justice for Betty Ketani's family

Today, three men were convicted of killing the mother-of-three almost 17 years ago.

The six men, of which three turned State witness, accused of Betty Ketani's murder. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The judge in the Betty Ketani murder trial has described the author of the confession at the heart of the case as a "poor and evasive witness".

Today three men, Carrington Laughton and two policemen brothers, Carel and David Ranger, were convicted of killing the mother-of-three almost 17 years ago.

Judgment in the so-called "cold case" follows a four year investigation and two years of legal battle.

Judge Natvarlal Ranchod ruled that Carrington Laughton failed to prove he was the victim of a conspiracy, and did not impress the court despite spending 13 days on the witness stand.

"His evidence was riddled with inconsistencies and improbabilities. Accused one was a poor witness; his evidence is rejected as false beyond reasonable doubt."

Judge Ranchod accepted the DNA results that were secured in a laboratory in Bosnia, handwriting analysis done by the police, and the evidence of three accomplice witnesses.

Ketani's brother and daughter were in court today, and they say the verdict will bring the family closure.

Many South Africans became familiar with the legal term "dolus eventualis", from the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

In delivering judgment, Judge Ranchod explained why it applied to this trial.

"The form that the intention takes in this trial is that of dolus eventualis, because accused one knew of the serious injury that Betty Ketani had sustained previously. He must have foreseen that leaving her in an abandoned old bus would result in her death."

Ketani had been stabbed and then kidnapped from a hospital by Carrington Laughton and two policemen brothers.

Her body has never been found and the motive for her murder remains unknown.

CLOSURE, AT LAST

Ketani's daughter, Bulelwa, says the family is happy with the outcome and plan to bring her spirit to rest in the Eastern Cape.

Judge Ranchod explained that his verdict was reached by considering all the various pieces of evidence together.

"Each one taken on its own may not be sufficient to be taken as conclusive. However, if they are taken all together, then the result is overwhelmingly in favour of exhibit G, being the genuine article and the author thereof being accused one."

Exhibit G was the confession found under a carpet.

The accused are due to be sentenced in May.

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