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By Ilse de Lange


Mom knew what she was doing when she shot sons – judge

Judge Hans Fabricius rejected the defence's argument that the woman had acted in a state of momentary sane automatism when she shot her sons dead in April 2015.

A Pretoria businessperson, who shot her two young sons in the head but claimed she did not know what she was doing, was yesterday convicted in the High Court in Pretoria on two counts of murder.

Judge Hans Fabricius rejected Rehithile Matjane’s defence that she had acted in a state of sane automatism and involuntarily because of a short-lasting psychotic depressive episode caused by medication when she shot her sons, Alvaro, 2, and Keyon’dre, 6, in April 2015.

Matjane admitted driving to a deserted spot near the old Wallmansthal defence force base in April 2015 where she shot her sons, but claimed she did not know what she was doing. She said she had used medication for a tight chest, a migraine and menstruation pain and had extreme suicidal thoughts before the incident.

But she had a happy marriage and would never knowingly have killed her beloved children. Matjane afterwards told witnesses she had shot her youngest son once and the eldest one twice and was sure they were dead.

She asked a police officer to kill her because she wanted to “rest with her children” and told witnesses she had killed them because she had struggled for 12 years in her marriage and her husband wanted to leave her. But Matjane and her husband, Pretoria psychiatrist Dr Alex Matjane, both testified that they had a loving, stable relationship and that she was a good mother. They had another child earlier this year.

Her husband testified she was not clinically depressed before the incident, but felt “down”. Fabricius rejected the evidence of a psychiatrist who testified for the defence that Matjane had acted in a state of momentary sane automatism brought on by the side-effects of the medication she took.

He accepted the evidence of two experts for the state that there was no clear evidence of what medication Matjane had taken in what doses, and that none of it would have made her homicidal.

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