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'A monster who cannot be tolerated': state wants nine life sentences for child rapist and murderer

Tazne van Wyk's mother Carmen and father Terence Manuel, with then seven-month-old Tamlynn van Wyk, during a prayer service at their Elsies River home shortly after Tazne's murder in 2020. File photo.
Tazne van Wyk's mother Carmen and father Terence Manuel, with then seven-month-old Tamlynn van Wyk, during a prayer service at their Elsies River home shortly after Tazne's murder in 2020. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

Convicted child rapist and murderer Moyhdian Pangkaeker — who violated the corpse of an eight-year-old victim by sawing off her hand — deserves at least nine life sentences.

That was the nub of the argument in aggravation of sentence put forward by the state at the high court in Cape Town for the former parolee who was arrested for kidnapping, raping and killing Tazne van Wyk, 8,  in 2020.

Pangkaeker, who pleaded not guilty and maintained he was innocent, was convicted in October 2022 of 21 charges including eight counts of rape of children, sexual assault and sexual exploitation of children, several counts of assault of children, kidnapping, incest, desecration of a corpse and absconding from parole.

Senior state advocate Lenro Badenhorst, in aggravation of sentence, described Pangkaeker, as a monster who could not be tolerated in a civilised community. “It is submitted that the accused is a repetitive offender who indiscriminately targets young girls for sexual pleasure and therefore his moral blameworthiness is high. The accused should be punished with the most severe punishment possible for his reprehensible actions.

 “There are no reasonable prospects of rehabilitation for the accused. He is a danger to society and a long-term sentence would be an appropriate punishment for the offences. The chances to reoffend are very high. He has shown no remorse,” he argued.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Badenhorst maintained there were no substantial and compelling circumstances forcing the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences and asked the court to impose direct imprisonment on all the charges on which the accused was convicted. 

Pangkaeker is no stranger to the courts, especially regarding crimes involving children, according to Ntabazalila. “In 2001 he kidnapped and killed his child. The Bellville regional court convicted and sentenced him to 10 years' imprisonment for culpable homicide and kidnapping [abduction]. He was also convicted for the neglect of his child.”

Badenhorst told the court that the community was traumatised by the kidnapping of Van Wyk.  “The community took the law into their hands and burnt down houses. There were rumours that the accused hid on the roof of a local school, the community stripped the roof off that school.”

At the start of the trial, the state played CCTV footage from a garage on the N1 highway, of Pangkaeker and Van Wyk alighting from a vehicle after getting a lift. He told the occupants he was taking the child to her mother in Beaufort West — a lie.

 “The accused took away the life of an eight-year-old child who had her whole life in front of her and left her family devastated. It is submitted that the accused showed no remorse or regret for his heinous actions. After his arrest in Cradock, he was relaxed and at some point, he was heard laughing aloud. Initially, he did not assist the police by revealing where the body was. His eventual revelation was negated by the fact that he denied in court that he took the police to the scene,” argued Badenhorst.

“He continuously, over days in court, repeatedly fabricated different versions of the events to try to prove his innocence. The accused caused the parents of the deceased tremendous trauma. They lived in uncertainty for days before her body was found. It is respectfully submitted that the accused is a monster who cannot be tolerated in a civilised community.”

Pangkaeker will be sentenced on February 14.

TimesLIVE


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