- A court has sentenced the killer of Miguel Louw nearly three years after the nine-year-old boy went missing.
- Mohamed Ebrahim Vahed was handed 34 years in jail for the murder and kidnapping of the Durban boy.
- He went missing in July 2018 and was last seen in Vahed's company before his badly decomposed body was found two months later.
The High Court in Durban sentenced a man to 34 years in jail on Wednesday for the murder and kidnapping of nine-year-old Miguel Louw.
Mohamed Ebrahim Vahed, 43, from Phoenix was sentenced to 34 years and six months' imprisonment after he was convicted in July 2018.
He was also found guilty of theft.
He received 25 years for premeditated murder, eight for kidnapping and 18 months for the theft charge.
On several occasions during the trial, the court heard Vahed occasionally stayed with Miguel and his family in Sydenham because he sometimes "did odd jobs" for them.
Sometime prior to the incident, Vahed had told Miguel's mother, Raylene, he was attracted to her. She turned down his advances, angering Vahed who threatened he would "show her".
A few days later, Vahed stole Raylene, Miguel and his sisters' IDs and birth certificates.
On 17 July 2018, Vahed fetched Miguel from school, something he had never done before, and bought him food at a nearby fast-food outlet. They then boarded a taxi in the direction of the Durban CBD.
Miguel was never seen alive again.
Vahed was arrested a few days later but he maintained his innocence, even during the trial, denying he had anything to do with the child's disappearance.
Miguel's body was found in a bushy area a few metres from Vahed's home in Phoenix on 3 September 2018.
Although the cause of death could not be properly ascertained as the body was in a state of decomposition and skeletisation, the autopsy report indicated suffocation could be considered.
Senior state advocate Kelvin Singh presented video footage showing Vahed and Miguel in the fast-food outlet and boarding a taxi. The video was of Vahed showing Miguel what appeared to be an ID and birth certificates.
The items were found in Vahed's possession when he was arrested.
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Singh also presented cellphone evidence placing Vahed at pivotal locations linking him to the crime.
While his defence was that he did not kill Miguel as he was already in police custody, the State led entomological evidence the insects found on the body showed he died shortly after he went missing, likely on the day he went missing or the following day.
KZN Director of Public Prosecutions Elaine Zungu said although Miguel was gone, "we hope that the family finds solace in that justice has been done".