Convicted woman denies muthi murder, pleads for mercy
A 56-year-old mother who was found guilty of the murder of a young woman for ritual purposes has asked the court not to sentence her for a murder she didn't commit.
Nkhensani Mhlongo, 56, Solomon Mahumani, 57, and Amos Chuma, 48, were convicted on Monday for the murder of Hlayisani Hlungwani, 26, in the Thohoyandou High Court in Limpopo. They appeared for sentencing on Wednesday.
The state alleged that the trio unlawfully and intentionally killed Hlungwani by stabbing her with a knife and cut off her lips, breasts and vagina for ritual purposes at Hlomela village outside Giyani in April 2017.
In her mitigation, Mhlongo told the court that she was not remorseful because she didn't kill Hlungwani.
"I didn't kill Hlungwani and I don't know who killed her. I'm hurt by what the family of the deceased is going through but it's wrong for the court to convict me for her murder," she said.
Mhlongo said she couldn't have been part of the crime and be the only female among men committing it.
"There was no way I could have joined men to commit such a crime. I'm asking the court not to sentence me for murder," she said.
Another suspect, Daniel Dzambukeri, who lured Hlungwani into getting into Chuma's Honda Ballade, was sentenced to life imprisonment after confessing.
He testified that when the vehicle reached Hlomela village from Nsavulani they drove to the bushes where Hlungwani's legs were tied to a tree until the evening.
The court heard further that the accused came back in the evening and broke Hlungwani's arm, cut off her body parts and killed her.
The state said Hlungwani's decomposed body was found covered with maggots in the bushes.
Hlungwani died at the scene and the cause of death was stated as "multiple blunt trauma to the head and other parts of the body which may have led to injuries of the internal organs and resulted in death".
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