Baby killer blinded by love for mother

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

A man who battered his girlfriend's five-year-old daughter to death said he did it for love.

Chester Makhale, 27, of Vosloorus, has been convicted with Deliwe Majaja, 24, of murdering Majaja's daughter, Lihle.

He told the court he was following orders from Majaja.

Pleading in mitigation in the Johannesburg high court yesterday, Makhale said Majaja complained that he never spent time with her and implied that this was caused by the presence of the child.

"I did not believe that the child was a problem in our relationship, but I started coming home and finding her angry all the time.

"She would tell me that the child was arrogant and uncontrollable and that I had to punish her," Makhale said.

Makhale said Majaja was a liar and was trying to pin the child's death on him.

"I am not denying that I beat the child but she is lying [when she says] that she only beat her twice.

"I loved her so much that I would do anything for her," he said.

Makhale denied that he assaulted Majaja and kept her and her daughter prisoners in their house.

"I admit that I contributed to the child's death and would like to ask for forgiveness from society, from the court and from God.

"I have learnt a lot from this mistake and it has changed my life."

When shown pictures of the child's body, covered in scars, Makhale said he was responsible only for the scars on her legs and her back.

When asked if he would have done the same to his own seven-year-old daughter if he had been told by her mother that she was arrogant, he said: "I have never, and will never, lay a hand on my own daughter."

State prosecutor Elaine Moonsamy said the couple had shown no remorse and asked that they be given a life sentence.

She said Majaja would not admit that she failed to protect her daughter and claimed that her only crime was loving Makhale.

Makhale's lawyer , Dean Modirwa, argued that his client had shown remorse by admitting that he had done wrong and by apologising.

Sentencing will be on Friday.

'I loved her so much that I would do anything for her'