An incarnation of the devil himself - that was how a judge on Tuesday described baby Kayla Rawstone's killer, William Kekana.

"I'd say you are Satan incarnate - the devil personified," she said before handing down six life sentences and an additional 60 years in jail to the killer and rapist.

Kekana was earlier found guilty of the murders of Hester and Kayla Rawstone and Janine Drennen, the attempted murder of a teenager, rapes of Drennen and the teenager, and kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Judge Monica Leeuw said in front of a packed Temba Circuit High Court: "You are an incorrigible rogue. South Africa does not need young men like you. Not now and not for a very long time."

She said she was surprised to learn the accused believed in God and came from a good family. Leeuw also called him a coward who got his strength from holding up defenceless victims with an illegal firearm.

She could not find anything special about his personal circumstances to deviate from the prescribed life sentences, saying he grew up with parents who cared for him.

"You and your friend (Fido Baloyi) subjected the victims to a considerable amount of torture. Janine was shot in the leg in the car. Hester was killed in front of her. Then Janine's torture continued emotionally. She sat in the car waiting for her fate. She was helpless in the hands of her executioners," said Leeuw.

She said this only ended after the woman was gang-raped and shot by both men.

A murmur came from the crowd when Leeuw described how an innocent baby had to watch her mother being killed and then shot at close range. Referring to the teenager's ordeal, Leeuw said she was also gang-raped, made to watch the murder of two persons and then told to lie down to be shot. "I can neither imagine, nor described the pain and suffering she experienced," said Leeuw.

She said Rawstone was shot and dragged out of the car like a dog, emphasising the accused's conduct was callous, cruel and sadistic.

According to her, Kekana had no respect for human life. "Yes," she said, "you are a human being, but one who doesn't live according to the rules of society. Even animals have a set of rules where they respect each other."

At the accused's age - 20 years - one would hesitate to send him to jail, but Leeuw felt Kekana had to be removed from society with the hope that Correctional Services could reach "the difficult goal" of rehabilitating him.

When Kekana earlier testified in mitigation of sentence, he said the divorce of his parents left him without moral support. He started with "petty crimes" and then described how he moved to "bigger" crimes for more money.

He said crime was in his blood.

Kekana admitted that the court was right in convicting him of all the charges. "I prefer death to being in jail. It is not nice in jail," he said.

Then, in a monotone voice, he apologised to the families of the victims and the court.

But when State advocate Dewald Reynierse questioned him, Kekana denied he would have continued killing if he had not been caught.

"I am not a killer," said Kekana. He said the aim of his actions was to obtain money. The rapes and murders were "just circumstances that happened".

To this Reynierse exclaimed: "Yes! You raped a mother, killed a baby. For two rings and a cellphone."

Reynierse said Kekana's father attended the trial to support him. His brothers did not kill babies. The only reason the accused was a criminal was because "you chose that route and you walked it".

Kekana replied: "You are a white man. I am black and I forgave you for apartheid. Now I ask you to forgive me." Leeuw interrupted, asking if he had raped and killed the white women because of the apartheid era.

The accused agreed, saying after Rawstone was killed, everything else they did followed simply because the victims were white.

Leeuw, a black woman, replied incredulously: "You were born in 1984. What do you know about apartheid?"

Reynierse said the teenager who was raped was black, asking where the "apartheid reasoning" was in that case.

Leeuw later stated that this argument that Kekana raped and murdered the white women because of apartheid was "sublime nonsense".

As she adjourned the court, Kekana's father, Herbert, ran in tears from the room. Kekana, now a far cry from the emotionless accused, bowed his head and ran to the holding cell with his leg-irons rattling. - Court Reporter.

The sentence:

  • Charge 1: Murder of Janine Drennen - life imprisonment;

  • Charge 2: Murder of Kayla Rawstone - life imprisonment;

  • Charge 3: Murder of Hester Rawstone - life imprisonment;

  • Charge 4: Attempted murder of teenage girl - 20 years;

  • Charge 5: Rape of Drennen - life imprisonment;

  • Charge 6: Rape of teenager - life imprisonment;

  • Charge 7: Robbery with aggravating circumstances of Drennen's vehicle - life imprisonment;

  • Charges 8, 9 & 10: Kidnapping of Drennen, Kayla and Rawstone - a cumulative sentence of 10 years in jail;

  • Charge 11: Kidnapping of teenager - 15 years;

  • Charge 12: Pointing of a firearm at the teenager's boyfriend - five years;

  • Charge 13: Unlawful possession of firearm - five years;

  • Charge 14: Unlawful possession of ammunition - five years.