Sandile Mantsoe has been convicted of killing Karabo Mokoena in 2017. Picture: ANA

Johannesburg - A whopping 32 years has been handed to "the devil in disguise" Sandile Mantsoe, which elicited cheers and tears from family and friends on Thursday at the High Court in Joburg.

Mantsoe was convicted on Wednesday for assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm, murder and defeating the ends of justice.

This was for brutally assaulting Karabo Mokoena in March last year, and then stabbing her to death a month later.

The murderer, who was referred to as a "cold-hearted killer", gruesomely disposed of his ex-girlfriend's body by dousing it with petrol and acid, and burning it beyond recognition.

Judge Peet Johnson said this sentence was both to punish Mantsoe, and to send a signal to society that violating women will not be accepted and the court had to set an example. 

"The court cannot describe you in any other manner as the devil in disguise," the judge rebuked.  

Judge Johnson said Karabo's memory will always live on, and community needs to know she didn't die in vain. 

"She (Karabo) died on behalf of abused women. Abused women need to know they can be protected from the likes of you," Judge Johnson said. 

Earlier, Karabo's mother Keabetswe was called by the State to testify in aggravation of sentence, recalling the pain which she has endured over the last 12 months.

Mrs Mokoena said nothing had changed in terms of the pain she feels. She said she still hears her daughter's voice, saying: "'Ma Mokoena,' and touching me on my chin," Mrs Mokoena said, breaking down on numerous occasions.

She added that she was close to all three of her children, and losing Karabo was painful. 

A still undeterred Mantsoe seemed unmoved as his sentence was handed down, smiling and and laughing with his well-wishers in court.

WATCH: Waiting to hear his fate, #SandileMantsoe joyously chat and laughs with well-wishers. Meanwhile, Karabo's sister, Bontle, and Karabo's friend, Stephanie, look at him with amazement. #KaraboMokoena. @TheStar_news; @IOL. pic.twitter.com/JqH66GbZ6N

He had earlier testified that he had not killed Karabo, and was only sorry for burning her body. The murderer said he was the one person to have inspired Karabo in life, which the judge took offence to, chastising Mantsoe for not being remorseful.

Mantsoe's lawyer, Advocate Victor Simelane, said that they will launch an appeal of both the judgment and the sentence.

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The Star