Man who killed wife with spade jailed

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An Angolan man who beat his estranged wife to death with a spade in Ravensmead last year was jailed for an effective 25 years on Thursday.

In a plea bargain entered into with the State, António Saldanha, 33, admitted murdering his wife Claudia in March 2011.

Western Cape High Court judge André le Grange heard that on the day of the murder, Saldanha went to his wife’s house, saw a man there and demanded to know who he was.

At the time, the couple was separated and Saldanha had opposed the divorce proceedings his wife had instituted against him. She had obtained a protection order against him some months before.

Saldanha assaulted his wife in full view of their children, aged six and two at the time, and ignored their pleas for him to stop.

At one stage, during the fracas, she told him she did not want to be married to him any longer, prompting him to punch her in the face.

She reached for a spade to try to defend herself, but he grabbed it from her and chased after her as she tried to escape.

He threw her to the ground and beat her with the spade as their son watched in horror and pleaded for him to stop. She died as a result of her injuries.

One of the factors taken into account in the plea and sentence agreement was that Saldanha fulfilled his fatherly obligations.

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Cape Argus

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