Serial killer gets 26 life sentences

The refusal to call witnesses by the man standing trial for serial killings in Modimolle, Limpopo, has brought his trial to a premature end.

The trial of the man who came to be known as the "Modimolle Serial Killer" ended when he was sentenced yesterday. The trial had been set for two weeks.

David Nnana Rannditsheni was found guilty on all 46 charges. He was given 26 life sentences for rape and murder, 10 years each for 18 kidnappings, and 20 years each for indecent assault and rape of an adult victim.

The trial was initially scheduled to run from Monday to next Thursday, but was concluded in two days after the testimony of only three state witnesses.

The crimes were committed between 2004 and 2008 in the Modimolle area.

His lawyer, Whitey Moruledi, told a packed court that his client had given him instructions not to allow further witnesses to testify as they would incriminate him.

Judge R. Claassen agreed not to call any more witnesses after the testimony of three police officers who gave a harrowing account of how Rannditsheni pursued his mostly young victims and sodomised them.

Judge Claassen recommended that Rannditsheni should serve at least 35 years of his sentence before he could be considered for parole.

He said it was painful that most of Rannditsheni's terror was inflicted on innocent children.

"I cannot find any mitigation to justify a lighter sentence on the kind of crimes committed by the accused," the judge said.