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Pretoria - A Mamelodi father who claimed he killed his pregnant wife in self-defence because she had used witchcraft to kill their two daughters and then turned into a beast-like snake ready to attack him, was on Tuesday sentenced to life in prison.
However, the woman’s father said he was not satisfied with the sentence.
Judge George Webster found Evans Mpanyane guilty in October of murdering his wife and two young daughters. He found his defence was a fabrication and full of “demented tales. Evidence of a metamorphosis of his wife into a beast or snake is reminiscent of fables narrated to young children”, the judge said.
On Tuesday, Mpanyane appeared devoid of all emotion in the Pretoria High Court dock as Judge Webster handed down three life sentences for the 2011 murders. The sentences would run concurrently.
But Phineas Ramailia said the sentence of the killer of his daughter and granddaughters was not fair. “He killed five people but before this court it is only three.
“The first time he tried to kill my daughter and grandchildren he poisoned them and an uncle died.”
The half-naked body of 19 weeks’ pregnant Cornelia Mpanyane, 30, was discovered by passers-by under a tree in the veld in Kameelfontein, north of Pretoria.
The bodies of their daughters, Joy and Priscilla, dressed in matching polka dot dresses, were found in Mpanyane’s car nearby. He was in the driver’s seat.
Judge Webster said that image left a lasting impression. The girls appeared to be sleeping, but close-ups showed strangle marks around their necks. The rope, probably also used to strangle their mother, was found in Mpanyane’s car.
“The accused decided to take life and put up a defence he had nothing to do with it. He went as far as fabricating a suicide note found on his wife’s body. Evidence proved that he wrote this note.”
Judge Webster dismissed the defence’s pleas in mitigation that witchcraft was the root cause.
“Reference to mermaids and witchcraft is not based on any belief the accused had, but a clear fabrication.”