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Self-confessed Soshanguve axe killer Godfrey Macheke, accused of hacking his wife to death, was trying to stop their divorce from being finalised just before her death, said the dead woman's family.
Macheke, 37, pictured, yesterday appeared in the Pretoria North magistrates' court charged with murdering his wife, Margret, 34, and burying her in a shallow grave at the Winterveld Cemetery, north of Pretoria.
He was not asked to plead and the case was postponed to Tuesday for a formal bail application.
Macheke confessed to the killing and showed the police where his wife was buried.
He was arrested on Saturday after police found bloodstains in his car.
Macheke's sister-in-law, Merriam Mokone, who opened a missing person's case when her sister disappeared and later filed the kidnapping charges that prompted the police to investigate Macheke, told Sowetan thatMacheke tried to kill her sister last year.
"On November 10 Godfrey put poison in my sister's herbal medicine bottle," Mokone said. " She took the poison but was rushed to Dr Mkhari Hospital and survived.
"She spent 10 days in hospital.
"My sister had a protection order against Macheke, but he ignored it.
"We tried to open an attempted murder case against him, but the police told us too many hands had handled the poison bottle and the evidence was tainted.
"We found it strange that such a case would not stick because the only other people who lived in the house were their two children, who would never poison their mother.
"Besides, only he had a motive," she said.
Mokone said she was hurt that her family had to ask for permission from the Machekes to bury Margret Macheke at her home.
"The investigating officer told us that we have to ask the Machekes for permission to bury Margret at her home.
"We find it very disturbing that the murderer's family had to grant us, the aggrieved, permission to bury my sister.
"They were married for 15 years and this is as much her house as his.
Mokone said the couple's two children, a 15-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter, had been hard-hit by the loss of their mother.
"They cry all the time. The girl is young, but she calls her dad a devil."