MOMENTS after being jailed for 19 years yesterday, Alfred Montsho turned and looked at his girlfriend's parents in the public gallery.
"Father, please forgive me, and please take care of my children," the killer said.
"It's okay boy, you take care of yourself," said the distraught father, George Masopha.
Montsho, 33, battered and strangled the mother of his two children, Evelyn Masopha, 24, to death in 2008 after she had laid a charge of assault and obtained a restraining order against him.
As Johannesburg high court judge Kathy Satchwell left the courtroom after sentencing him, Montsho turned to face his late girlfriend's parents, just before he was led down the stairs, and asked for forgiveness. "I accept his apology, there's nothing I can do. But I wish they teach him about humanity in jail," said Masopha.
Earlier, Masopha had told the court in aggravation of sentence that Montsho had not only physically abused his daughter, but also his three-year-old son.
"I found out about the beatings when my daughter came to visit me with my grandchild. When it was time for them to leave, the child refused to go, saying he wanted to stay with me because his father beat him and his mother all the time. He took off his clothes and showed me scars behind his thighs and legs," he said.
Masopha said his daughter begged him not to intervene as this would provoke more beatings.
"It hurts and I'm saddened, but I don't hate him. I have nothing against his family, my grandchildren are also their grandchildren. I told them that at the funeral."
Evelyn and Montsho lived in Kagiso on the West Rand at the time of her death. They had been together for eight years. In August 2008, she moved out because of the abuse and had Montsho arrested, but he would not leave her alone.
On September 1 2008, he waylaid her on her way from work. She tried to run away but he caught up with her in an open veld and beat her up severely, strangled her with a rope and left her for dead. She died in hospital on September 8.
Montsho denied strangling her but admitted to beating her. He said he went to her to recover the money he had given her for creche fees which she never paid. He got angry because she had insulted him.
Judge Satchwell dismissed these claims as nonsense.
"Evidence is that she had never before failed to pay for creche. The answer is clear, if the purpose of waiting for her was not to get the money, then it could only have been to assault her," the judge said.