Murderer Zinhle Maditla in the dock in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga. Picture: ANA Reporter

Johannesburg - The accused intended to kill her children and had made sure that her plan was executed perfectly, Judge Sheila Mphahlele said ahead of Zinhle Maditla sentencing to four life terms at the Middleburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday. 

“That is why at one stage she lied about the whereabouts of the children,” Mphahlele said. 

Mphahlele said Maditla only realised a day after the commission of her crimes that what she did was wrong. 

“Despite this realisation she never asked for assistance, the least when the children started complaining of headaches. She claims that she was in the meantime tormented in her conscience, but she failed to seek help or report the matter,” Mphahlele added. 

She said Maditla only confessed three days after the commission of the crime and by that time, the bodies of the children were at an advanced stage of decomposition.  

Mphahlele said despite the children complaining to her that they were not feeling well and were having a severe headaches, Maditla told them to lay on the bed.

She added that Maditla said by the time her children were complaining, she had forgotten that she had given them poison. 

“Nonetheless, whilst children were asleep she then went outside and after a while she went inside and noticed that they were not breathing,” Mphahlele said. 

“Again she went outside again hoping that the poison she consumed will start taking effect on her,” she added. 

Mphahlele said the children died a prolonged and painful death at the hands of their mother. 

“Having consumed the poison they did not die immediately, they suffered a prolonged and painful death,” said the judge. 

“I could not find any substantial and compelling circumstances to justify the imposition of a lesser sentence than the described minimum sentences,” Mphahlele said. 

“I think on the considered view that the life imprisonment of on each of the murder counts is the appropriate sentence,” she added. 

Maditla was sentenced to four life imprisonment terms for the four murders committed in December 2018.  

Maditla’s sentencing was expected to be handed on Wednesday, September 18 and Mphahlele postponed it for Friday citing that she needed to apply her mind in the evidence put before her.  

The Star