Tereasa Dias
3 minute read
4 Aug 2017
4:25 pm

UPDATE: Wife gets 12 years behind bars for conspiracy to murder her husband

Tereasa Dias

Overwhelmed by her problems, Maria contacted a friend in White River, who she hoped would help her to kill her husband.

Maria Ferreria.

When Maria Ferreira (53) decided to have her husband killed, she was in a dark place. Plagued by depression and fear, she could see no other way out but to orchestrate his murder, Lowvelder reports.

It took Maria a month to plan. Carlos (55) would be killed in a Malalane vegetable shop. A hit man would be paid R20 000 to commit the crime.

This, she thought, would come from his life insurance payout. Yet today, Carlos is alive and Maria behind bars thanks to a plot twist revealed in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Wednesday.

When Maria faced justice two days ago, the effect of four months’ pretrial imprisonment had clearly taken its toll on her. She looked tired and worn down when she pleaded guilty to orchestrating Carlos’ death. After that, she stared at the courtroom’s floor while her attorney, CN Vikilazi, and the magistrate, André Geldenhuys, recounted the events leading to her arrest on March 19.

Her relationships have been central to years of suffering. Her first husband died of cancer and her second, Alan Hepburn, was stabbed to death in February 2012.

Police had questioned Maria at the time, but lacked evidence linking her to the murder. According to Vilikazi, Maria had been subjected to financial, mental and physical abuse during her third marriage to Carlos. They owned Primo Cabanas in Ponta do Ouro.

“About a year ago, her husband became more controlling and even physically abusive when he broke her arm. She tried to report it to the Mozambican police but they told her it was not serious,” said Vilikazi.

His client was put on medication after being diagnosed with depression. She had trouble sleeping and started taking sleeping tablets. Yet her state worsened when she started fearing that her husband would kill her. Carlos previously denied the allegations. He told Lowvelder that he had tried to give her everything – a good life – but that she was always unhappy. According to Carlos, Maria was addicted to schedule-five medication and drank a lot.

READ MORE: Widow denied bail for ‘conspiring’ to murder husband

Overwhelmed by her problems, Maria contacted a friend in White River, who she hoped would help her to kill her husband.

It seemed that the friend would assist Maria in finding a hit man. The friend had, however, informed the police of Maria’s agenda.

On March 19, Maria met the hit man and paid him R500. When Carlos was dead, she would pay him R20 000 from his life-insurance policy payout. The “hit man” was an undercover cop and Maria was arrested. Geldenhuys described this turn of events as “lucky”.

“While planning this, you had sufficient time to come to your senses. Luckily for you, you were arrested and helped by the people who reported it to the police. You are also lucky that you could not go through with the offence,” he said.

Regarding her claims of abuse, Geldenhuys said that she had not asked for sufficient help and that she should have done more to receive it. He sentenced her to 12 years’ imprisonment, five of which will be suspended.

This was a victory for investigating officer, Lieutenant Colonel Danie Hall. He said the evidence against Maria had been overwhelming, which he believed motivated her guilty plea.

“I am sure this case will send a strong message to the public and a strong deterrent to anyone who is thinking about committing this type of crime,” he said.


Widow denied bail for ‘conspiring’ to murder husband

– Caxton News Service

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