Durban - After describing society’s disgust with children who murdered their parents, a Durban Regional Court magistrate on Wednesday sent a Newlands woman to jail for conspiring to kill her mother.
Astrid Tavira, 20, was found guilty in September this year of plotting the murder of her mother, Freda.
Freda, 50, was raped and strangled in her home in August last year.
Tavira’s boyfriend, Waleed Karriem, 34, who is also her first cousin, pleaded guilty to raping and murdering his aunt and is serving a life sentence.
He said in his guilty plea, in the Durban High Court, that he had killed Freda so that Tavira could inherit from her mother’s estate and pay off their debts.
Tavira testified that she had said “yes” when Karriem asked her if she wanted her mother dead because she did not think he was serious about the murder plot.
“Your mother was raped and murdered. You knew Karriem was a violent person but you did nothing to help your mother.
“Society is disgusted by children killing their parents, as was seen in the highly publicised Lotter case. Only a lengthy term of imprisonment is sufficient sentence for you,” magistrate Nanette Otto said.
Earlier in the proceedings, social worker Makhosazana Mantantana testified that Tavira, who was 19 at the time of the murder, had been influenced by Karriem.
She said an appropriate sentence would be for Tavira to spend 10 months in prison.
Tavira’s aunt, Gail Steyn, who is Karriem’s mother, testified that she has custody of the two-year-old child that Tavira had with her son.
She said Tavira, who has limited, supervised visits, had bonded with her son.
“I am still very hurt about what happened but I cannot turn her [Tavira] away, she is my blood. It is sad to see her this way. But I know that justice has to be done,” Steyn said.
Tavira’s attorney, T Volskenk, pleaded for mercy, saying her role was minimal and she was not present when the murder happened.
State prosecutor Calvin Govender called for a lengthy prison term to be imposed.
“The accused’s motive was greed and a stern message needs to be sent to children who think that insurance policies are more important than their parents.”
Tavira was sentenced to 15 years in jail and seven years of the sentence was wholly suspended.
The case was adjourned to December 12 for her to apply for leave to appeal against her conviction and sentence.