Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 14:18 UK

Jail for 'nurse in boot' abductor

Justice Ngema
Justice Ngema, 35, left Magdeline Makola in her car boot

A man who abducted a nurse and tied her up in her car boot has been sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison, with a lifelong restriction order.

Justice Ngema, 35, used Magdeline Makola's bank cards to fund a Christmas shopping spree while she lay shivering in sub-zero temperatures.

Ms Makola, 38, spent 10 days locked in the boot before she was found suffering from hypothermia on Boxing Day 2008.

She disappeared after work at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 15 December.

When Ngema was sentenced on Tuesday at the High Court in Glasgow, he was told by judge Lord Menzies that he may never be released from prison.

It will be up to the parole board to assess whether he should be released after he has served the minimum eight year punishment part of the sentence, Lord Menzies said.

Magdeline Makola: "He said 'I'm going to teach you a lesson'"

After he has completed his prison sentence, Ngema will be deported back to South Africa.

Lord Menzies told Ngema that he had inflicted a "truly dreadful physical and mental ordeal on a young woman who had done you no harm at all".

The judge also said it "must have been incredibly uncomfortable and terrifying for her, the stuff of nightmares."

"If the weather had been different or if she had not been so strong she could easily have died," he added.

The judge said the medical evidence was that Ms Makola would not have survived another two days in the boot.

If the weather had been different or if she had not been so strong she would have died
Lord Menzies

South African-born Ms Makola, 38, who lives in Livingston was reported as saying after the verdict she had been most worried by the rope that had been put round her neck by Ngema.

She added: "All of a sudden I just started making friends with death.

"I tried to kick the boot but I started to lose hope. I said, 'what else could I do?' because people were not hearing me at all."

She was found by police in her car in Airdrie, Lanarkshire after two traffic police officers recognised the registration number plate following an alert which had gone out across Scotland.

They smashed into the car boot after they saw condensation on the car's windows.

Ms Makola said of her eventual rescue: "I heard two men talking, although I could not hear their conversation.

"I lifted my head towards the gap in the boot and said 'can somebody help me please?'

"I could hear the footsteps coming towards the car and one of them said 'we are the police'.

"I was like, thank God, I've been rescued."

Inside the red Vauxhall Astra
Magdeline Makola was locked inside the boot of a Vauxhall Astra

A Lothian and Borders police spokesman said: "Tuesday's sentence reflects the severity of the offences committed by Justice Ngema.

"We would like to thank those members of the public who provided us with information during our enquiries, and whose assistance was vital in providing overwhelming evidence that ensured a guilty plea.

"It is clear that Justice Ngema is an individual who has no qualms about preying on others for his own personal gain, and it is typical of his character that he has shown no remorse for his actions."

Ngema, who was in the country using his brother's passport, had only known his victim briefly before the attack at her home in Livingston, West Lothian.

At a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh in April he pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including theft from a cash machine and a string of frauds using Ms Makola's bank cards at designer shops in the run up to Christmas.

Despite her ordeal - which left her with scars and nerve damage - Ms Makola said she felt no anger towards Ngema, and that her faith in God helped her through the trauma.

In a statement read by police outside court on her behalf in April she said: "I am pleased that Justice Ngema has pleaded guilty today and I want people to know that I feel no anger towards him, only pity.

"I wish him well in the future and I will pray for him."

Ms Makola was reported missing on 18 December when she failed to turn up for her shift.

An investigation was launched and the nurse was discovered by police in her red Vauxhall Astra in Lanarkshire.

Ngema, who is also known as Sifiso Praise God Ngema, was in the country despite being deported in 2002 after a failed claim for asylum.

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