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Durban - A woman who had her mother-in-law killed, believing she was coming between her and her husband, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Lilian Pearce, 41, was sentenced to life along with her accomplice Mvikelwa Khanyile, 27, for the murder of Slindile Pearce, 65.

In a scathing judgment, Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Nomphumelelo Radebe said it was shocking that the elderly woman had been killed at the hands of her daughter-in-law.

“The emotional scars that this family must be left with cannot be described in words. This was an elderly, defenceless, vulnerable woman who was killed,” the judge said yesterday.

Referring to Khanyile, whom Pearce hired to commit the murder, Radebe said his actions were motivated purely by greed, which indicated that he was a very dangerous person.

Pearce, a government department clerk, had offered Khanyile R15 000 to commit the murder, to which he had agreed.

“Money vanishes as soon as it comes into your hands. Maybe when you are older, you will realise that R15 000 amounts to nothing at all.”

Radebe added that it was aggravating that Khanyile had continued to deny his involvement in the murder.

“You made a deal with Pearce to eliminate a person you didn’t even know, and you made no attempt to offer any explanation for your heinous deed or show any remorse.

“This indicates to me that while you may be relatively young, you have no prospects for rehabilitation,” Radebe said.

Slindile was shot dead at her home in Somthebe in the Lower Umfolozi region on April 11, 2011.

Some time before the murder the relationship between Slindile and her daughter-in-law deteriorated.

Pearce believed her mother-in-law was sowing division between her and her husband and decided to have Slindile killed. She conspired with Khanyile and another man identified as Fuze Ngcobo, to kill Slindile.

They obtained a firearm and the three went to Slindile’s home, which she shared with several of her grandchildren, and lured her to the window.

Ngcobo fired several shots into the window, hitting Slindile in the chest. The woman died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The Pearce family voiced their satisfaction at the sentence. Ayanda Pearce, one of the grandchildren, said she was happy justice had been served. “She must rot in prison for what she did. My grandmother’s soul can now rest in peace,” she said.

Daily News