30 years behind bars for cop killer

Henry

The Khayelitsha priority crime court sentenced the killer of a Cape police officer to an effective prison sentence of 30 years.

In terms of a plea and sentence agreement with the state, Denzil October was found guilty of the murder of const. Ashwin Pedro. Pedro and a colleague were attacked while they were on patrol in the Grassy Park area.

The conviction and sentence comes after an incident on 1 December 2022 when a member of the public accused Pedro and his colleague, const. Theodore Henry, approached. They were on their way back to the police station after a patrol in Grassy Park. The member of the public warned them about a man with blond hair, wearing an orange T-shirt and blue pants and carrying a firearm.

They spotted the suspect (October) from their vehicle and Pedro then approached him. He ordered October to hold his hands in the air. However, October took out something that looked like a firearm.

Henry, who had joined Pedro in the meantime, tried to grab October’s right hand in an attempt to restrain him. However, October countered him and grabbed Henry’s weapon with such force that it came loose from the safety cord it was attached to.

After yanking it out of the holster, the accused fled – with the two police officers in pursuit. He opened fire on them and shot and killed Pedro.

October was later arrested at his home in Ravensmead, where the police found Henry’s service weapon and an empty magazine in a wooden house in the backyard.

“The 44-year-old father is no stranger to the courts. He has previous convictions for armed robbery, common assault, burglary with intent to assault, attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm,” says Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Western Cape.

Adv. Luzaan Williams, on behalf of the state, told the court that the incidence of attacks on law enforcement officers was outrageous and that it had become extremely common in the Western Cape – and the rest of the country.

She says the murder was committed while the two officers were busy with crime prevention patrols and the crime was a devastating blow to his family and colleagues.

The state deviated from the usual minimum prescribed sentence for an accused who kills a law enforcement officer – life – “because the intention was dolus eventualis (where you had to foresee that your actions could have consequences) and not dolus directus (with intent)”.

Adv. Nicolette Bell, Western Cape director of public prosecutions, welcomed the sentence and paid tribute to Pedro who gave his life to serve his community and try to get a firearm off the street.

The court sentenced October to eight years behind bars for armed robbery, 30 years in prison for the murder of Pedro, five years in prison on the charge of attempted murder of Henry, 15 years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm and two year for illegal possession of ammunition.

This brings his total sentence to 60 years. The court ordered that the sentences be served concurrently with those of the murder charge.