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A policeman who shot dead his girlfriend's mother and almost killed his girlfriend, their son, and his son's young cousin was jailed for 12 years on Friday.
The High Court in Pretoria accepted that former constable Nnakatji Johannes Moteane had had an emotional breakdown on the day of the crime.
Moteane pleaded guilty to murdering Martha Ntuli and attempting to murder his girlfriend Yvonne, his 4-year-old son Mfundu, and Mfundu's 9-year-old cousin Boy Boy Ntuli in March last year.
The court heard that Yvonne, despite being shot nine times and partially losing the use of her arm, blamed herself for the incident. She still loved Moteane and visited him in prison.
Their son recovered after being shot in the head, but his cousin still suffered from pain and nightmares after being shot at and witnessing his aunt being killed.
Moteane told the court that he and Yvonne, whom he met when she was 13 years old, had a volatile relationship. They often argued about her drinking habits and lack of commitment.
On the day of the crime, his suspicions that she had an affair were confirmed when he saw another man leaving her house.
He felt humiliated when Yvonne told him to wait outside and lost his temper when her mother later chased him out of the house.
He decided to end it all and emptied his service pistol on the women and two young boys but had no bullets left when he tried to commit suicide.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius said Moteane was a first offender and unlikely to commit such an offence in future.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and there was no evidence that he was a violent person.
He had apologised to the family of his victims and had to live with himself, knowing that he injured and caused emotional damage to the people closest to him.
The judge concluded that the actions of Yvonne and her mother had led to Moteane breaking down emotionally as he felt helpless, humiliated, and was treated with disrespect.
Pretorius said this could never be an excuse in any circumstances but it explained what had triggered his actions. - Sapa