South Africa 'sunflower murder' farmers jailed

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Pieter Doorewaard, 28, (L) and Philip Schutte, 35, (R), wait for their sentencing procedure on March 6, 2019 at the Mahikeng High Court in Mahikeng, South Africa.Image source, AFP
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Pieter Doorewaard (L) and Philip Schutte await sentencing in Mahikeng

Two white farmers who accused a black teenager of stealing sunflowers and threw him out of a moving van have been sentenced in South Africa.

Pieter Doorewaard, 28, and Phillip Schutte, 35, were sentenced to 18 and 23 years in prison respectively for murder and other offences.

The pair had accused 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu of stealing sunflowers worth $5 (£3).

The killing triggered tension in the town of Coligny, North West Province.

Doorewaard and Schutte had said they caught Matlhomola stealing and that the 16-year-old jumped out of their van while they were taking him to the police station in April 2017.

They were convicted at a trial in October.

North West High Court Judge Ronnie Hendricks said that, although the murder was not premeditated, the men must have foreseen that throwing the boy from a moving truck could result in death.

The judge called the pair's actions disgraceful and appalling, the BBC's Nomsa Maseko reports.

The killing sparked violence in Coligny, our reporter says. Black residents set fire to several businesses and homes that belonged to white people.

Police were deployed inside the court house for the sentencing.