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Armed robber gets three years in jail

Nat Molomo

MASERU — A man who robbed a family-owned bottle store in Roma at gunpoint last month was on Wednesday sentenced to seven years in prison.

Lecheko Lecheko, 21, who comes from Ha Mokhohla in Roma was sentenced to three years for each of the two robbery charges he was facing  when he appeared before Magistrate ‘Mampho Mokoena.

He was also slapped with an addition one year in prison or a fine of M1000 for illegal possession of a firearm.

But because the sentences will run concurrently Lecheko will only spend an effective four years behind bars.

He could however reduce his stay in jail by a year if he manages to raise the M1000 fine for illegal possession of a firearm.

During the trial the court heard that on May 13 Lecheko, together with two other accomplices who are still at large, pounced on Hata Butle Bottle Store in Roma.

He threatened to shoot the bottle store owners, Ts’oepho Lets’oara and his wife ‘Malefa Lets’oara, unless they gave him money.

The prosecution told the court that the three pounced on the couple at around 8pm when they were about to close for the day. 

Lets’oara was injured during the attack while his wife managed to escape and raised alarm.

Local villagers came to their rescue and arrested Lecheko who was in possession of a 9mm Beretta auto pistol.

His two colleagues managed to escape.

The prosecutor, Thabang Motsamai, told the court that “the evidence of the crown had been clear that it was the accused who held the gun as it was found in his possession, while his colleagues escaped.

“It has been clear that money was demanded from Lets’oara and his wife and Lets’oara was even injured by Lecheko while his two colleagues escaped,” Motsamai said.

Motsamai did not say how Lets’oara was injured.

Lecheko pleaded guilty to both charges. 

Meanwhile a Qoaling man was sentenced to five months imprisonment or pay M500 for possessing a 7.65 auto pistol without a firearm certificate.

Malefetsane Jase, 65, pleaded guilty to contravening sections of arms and ammunition laws after he was found in possession of a firearm on May 26.

He appeared before Maseru magistrate Makopano Taole.

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