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Pretoria West mother sentenced for killing daughters

The court deviated from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years because the accused had shown remorse by pleading guilty and was a first-time offender.

A Pretoria West mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of her two daughters recently.

The Pretoria high court sentenced Lehlogonolo Mary Bokaba (29) from Saulsville to 10 years each for the murders of her two-month-old and eight-year-old children.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said the NPA welcomed the sentence.

According to Mahanjana, the court ordered that the sentences run concurrently after she pleaded guilty to the charges referred against her on May 13 by the NPA.

“Bokaba was in a love relationship with the father of the two-month-old baby and was staying with him in his back room in his parent’s backyard. While the two were still in a relationship, Bokaba discovered that the lover was continuously cheating on her, and he was also not assisting her with the children,” Mahanjana said.

Mahanjana said on May 12, 2022, Bokaba decided to leave her husband and called her mother to help her move on May 14, 2022.

“However, when she woke up on the morning of May 14, 2022, she told the court in her plea statement that she felt overwhelmed with the state of her relationship with her husband. She decided to kill herself and her children by hanging them with a cord to save them from the consequence of growing up without a mother.”

After hanging and killing the children, she attempted to commit suicide by also hanging herself but was unsuccessful, Mahanjana said.

She said Bokaba untied the children, placed them on the bed, and called her mother-in-law.

“The incident was discovered by the mother-in-law after she received a missed call from Bokaba.

When the mother-in-law went to the backroom to check, she found the bodies of the children on top of the bed. Police were called and Bokaba was arrested and has been in custody since.”

In court during the sentencing proceeding advocate Piet Luyt argued in aggravation that, Bokaba committed a serious offence which resulted in the loss of life of two minor children and severe emotional trauma for the victims’ families who are still suffering from unresolved trauma.

When handing down the sentence Judge Mashudu Munzhelele found that there were substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years because Bokaba did not waste the court’s time, she pleaded guilty, and she was a first-time offender.

Munzhelele said Bokaba committed the offences under emotional distress. She also made a plea that information should be made available to help women who feel they don’t have a way out.

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