In bid for lenient sentence‚ Sandile Mantsoe maintains he did not kill Karabo

Sandile Mantsoe was convicted of the assault and murder of his girlfriend‚Karabo Mokoena.
Sandile Mantsoe. Sandile Mantsoe was convicted of the assault and murder of his girlfriend‚Karabo Mokoena.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

In a bid to get a more lenient sentence‚ convicted killer Sandile Mantsoe on Thursday took to the stand in the High Court in Johannesburg where he offered an apology to the family of his slain girlfriend‚ Karabo Mokoena.

While Mantsoe had declined to testify during the trial‚ on Thursday he told the court that he blamed himself for Mokoena’s passing and said he was sorry. “My actions are unjustifiable‚” Mantsoe said.

Acting Judge Peet Johnson asked Mantsoe exactly what he was apologising for. Maintaining that he did not kill her‚ Mantsoe said he was apologising for burning her body.

He repeated he was acting in panic when he destroyed the body of his on-and-off girlfriend. “She was a wonderful person. She was something to the world… I’ve cleared my conscience on my part…”

Mantsoe‚ a married father of three‚ was estranged from his wife at the time of his relationship with Mokoena.

He told the court that Mokoena had wanted to settle down but because of being hurt before‚ he was reluctant.

On Wednesday‚ Johnson found Mantsoe guilty of assaulting Mokoena‚ killing her and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by destroying her body. Mokoena’s charred remains were found in a ditch in Lyndhurst in April last year.

Mantsoe has maintained that he returned to his apartment to find that she had committed suicide by stabbing herself in the neck. Her family went on a frantic search for her‚ later discovering that the body found in Lyndhurst was hers.

Mantsoe is testifying in a packed court room. Outside court‚ scores of people stood in the passages‚ hoping to get a seat in the courtroom.

Speaking to the media following Mantsoe’s guilty verdict on Wednesday‚ Mokoena’s uncle Tshepo said they could not forgive Mantsoe as he had failed to show any remorse for his actions.

Mokoena said Mantsoe was “a sick‚ sick man”‚ saying he might only understand the magnitude of what he had done once he donned the prison uniform.