Pretoria - There are still more questions than answers about what happened on the night a Theresa Park woman and her two small children were murdered, but for now her killer has been sentenced to three life sentences and 28 years’ imprisonment.
Sipho Masiqa, 36, maintained to the end that he had nothing to do with the July 2010 murders of Thifhelimibilu (Pauline) Mashau and her two children – four-year-old Adivhao and eight-month-old Aveani.
Mashau’s half naked body, dressed only in a pink pyjama top, was found in bushes near Ga-Rankuwa two days after the bodies of her children were found in her home. She had been stabbed with a knife and strangled to death and was sexually assaulted.
The baby was discovered face down in the bath and her sister in a bedroom with a balaclava pulled over her face. Both children had been strangled and suffocated.
“You are a dangerous man who needs to be permanently removed from society,” Judge Bert Bam told Masiqa yesterday.
The murder of the woman was an act of savagery, he said.
“Not only was she stabbed, but she was also strangled. She was overpowered while still in her pyjamas. The killing of her two children was also brutal and barbaric.”
The judge said the two children were defenceless.
“Why they were murdered remains a mystery. It seems so senseless to kill little children. They could pose no threat to anyone.”
The judge said the children were shown no mercy. “The killing of children is a reprehensible crime.”
Masiqa had told the court several versions. The first was that Mashau asked him for a firearm to kill herself, while the second was that she asked him to kill her. The third was that Mashau asked him to stage a robbery at her house for insurance purposes.
Masiqa said he staged the robbery, but had nothing to do with the murders. According to him, she killed her own children and gave him R10 000 and her car for staging the robbery.
Masiqa admitted he was at her home on the night of the murder.
He claimed Mashau and a man named Peter fetched him from work and took him to the house.
The woman took the children to a bedroom, he said, and he never saw them again.
After the pair helped him to break a window and to load some items from the house into Mashau’s car, he left with the vehicle, Masiqa said. Judge Bam earlier rejected this version and found Masiqa was the killer, but someone had helped him.
“He (Masiqa) is the only person who could tell the court exactly what happened but he was not prepared to tell the truth,” he said.
It emerged during the trial that Mashau and her killer had a lot of contact with each other via cellphone on the days leading up to the incident. It was clear they knew each other, as there was no forced entry into her house.
Masiqa’s co-accused and friend, Raymond Matshaba, was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in jail for being an accessory after the fact.
Masiqa left the woman’s car with Matshaba who burnt it after he heard of the murders. He admitted he had done so to destroy fingerprints.
“He clearly aided and abetted Masiqa,” the judge said.