Pretoria - After he killed his elderly mother and chopped her body up, the “voices of Satan” in his head went quiet.
This was the evidence of John Mathe, 40, who took the stand in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Wednesday to testify in his murder trial.
Although Mathe admitted in a statement that he did kill his mother, he pleaded not guilty to murder as he claimed he did not have the intention to kill her.
He told the court that “the voices” made him do it.
Mathe, dressed in blue overalls, told the court that he at first had no recollection of killing his mother. It was only the next morning when he saw her decapitated head on her bed and all the blood in her bedroom, that he realised something had happened.
When he saw his small knife which he kept in his bedroom to peel apples with, next to her mutilated body and saw the blood on his hands and clothes, he realised it could have been him.
“I asked myself what had happened with the knife. It was always in my bedroom. I told myself it was only the two of us in the house. I thought that maybe I was the one who did this.”
The chopped-up body of 72-year-old Makanana Mathe was discovered by her niece Jane Hlako, who asked a friend to kick down the old woman’s bedroom door as he had not answered her phone for some time.
The chopped-up body of the mother was discovered on April 19, last year, during the Easter long weekend.
It it is claimed that her son had killed her the previous night.
Hlako testified this week how shocked she was when she lifted her aunt’s bedding and saw her decapitated head and intestines, while some of the other parts were in a bucket next to the bed.
Hlako she saw Mathe two days prior to the grizzly discovery - on the night he claimed the voices started talking to him.
According to her there was nothing wrong with him and he had never suffered from any psychological illness.
Mathe confirmed during his evidence that the “voices talking to him” was a once off episode, and disappeared after his mother’s death.
He said he had a very good relationship with his mother and she was the one who insisted that he stay with her, so that he could take care of her.
Mathe testified that when the voices started in his head on the evening of April 17, his mother told him to pray.
Asked by his advocate what kind of voices he had heard, Mathe said “just mixed voices of people.” He said he believed it to be the voice of Satan.
“My mother said I should not allow Satan to overpower me.”
He went to bed to try and get rid of the voices and his mother brought him food, as she said he could not sleep on an empty stomach.
“The following day the noises became louder and they were making a lot of noise. I told my mother I still heard the noises but that it was now very loud.”
Mathe said he slept most of the day and when he woke up the next morning, he was surprised to see the house still closed. According to him his mother was always up early to sweep the yard.
He said he called out to her and knocked on her door. It was only when he opened her door that he saw all the blood and her mutilated body and he realised something had happened.
“I concluded it was me when I saw the bloodstains on my hands and my knife in her room…”