Farmer's widow angry killer didn't get life

Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - The widow of murdered Underberg farm sitter Ian Fellowes, 73, said she felt “sick and shocked” his killer wasn’t given a life sentence.

Acting Judge Sibusiso Mngome­zulu, sitting with an assessor, sentenced Mthokozisi Mtolo, 21, to an effective 22 years in jail on Thursday.

“I am so angry I don’t know what to say,” Fellowes’s distraught widow, Ann, told The Witness.

She said she knows her husband cannot be brought back to life, but she expected the maximum sentence for his killer.

This was especially because she believes Mtolo showed no remorse and was “laughing and smiling” at other people in the gallery the previous day, she said.


Fellowes, who was supported by her friend, Aileen Leroux, said she saw the postmortem report for the first time on Wednesday and was shaken to see that not only was her husband shot, but he was also stabbed. “That was just so vindictive … so cruel,” she said.

Leroux said Ian Fellowes was an “amazing, loyal and kind” person and admired as a capable farmer.

The couple have a son, Craig, and daughter, Debbie.

Fellowes farmed for most of his life in the Swartberg area and also managed a farm at Himeville.

He and his wife had moved to Howick, and he was farm sitting at Ringstead farm when he was murdered.

The Underberg farming community was in an uproar over the murder, which followed on the heels of the brutal killing of Dan Knight in the same area.


Acting Judge Mngomezulu said on Thursday he was satisfied there were reasons justifying a sentence less than life for Mtolo.

Mtolo was a “relatively young man” and there was hope he could be rehabilitated, he said.

“You basically pleaded guilty and cut short a potentially protracted trial,” he added.

The judge said crimes like Mtolo’s are responsible for scaring away potential investors, affecting the economy and creating unemployment, which in turn leads to more crime.


Earlier, the judge said he didn’t consider Mtolo was genuinely remorseful for killing Fellowes.

He initially only pleaded guilty to illegally possessing firearms and ammunition he claimed he found in Fellowes’s abandoned bakkie after it crashed at Bulwer.

It was only after his brother, Siyabonga, testified that he had confessed everything to him that he “effectively pleaded guilty”.