PRETORIA-(MaraviPost)-A south African father who hanged his four children after his wife served him divorce papers has been jailed for life.
Subusiso Mpungose, 44, is said to have waited until his teacher wife Xolisile, 42, went to work then took a string of taxis to pick up three of his children from a nearby creche and a school.
He then took his son Kuhlekonke, 4, daughter Khwezi, 6, and son Sphesihile, 10, back to the marital home and then sent the oldest boy out to a local shop to buy them all snacks
While his son had gone out shopping he hanged the younger two children with their school belts from burglar-prevention bars on the windows. When Sphesihile then returned with the snacks for the family he was also strung up by his belt in a different room.
The three children were later found hanging dead in their school uniformed by armed police who broke into the family home.
Mpungose then tricked his wife’s teenage daughter from a previous marriage to come out of school before hanging her in nearby woods.
The mother first became concerned when she noticed unusual activity on her taxi App that showed trips being taken by her husband between their home and their children’s school.
She immediately went to a local police station at Wyebank in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province, and said she was scared of her husband and was frightened to go back to her home alone.
A police team escorted her back and found the locks had been changed so they broke to door down to find the three hanging children.
Frantic Xolisile told officers about her fourth child Ayakha Jikane, 16, from a previous relationship and said she feared her husband may have gone after her in revenge.
When checks were made at the tep-daughter’s nearby school, Pinetown Girls High, friends of Ayakha said they saw her step-father putting her into a taxi and driving her away in the direction of his home.
A police search team scoured the area and found the schoolgirl, who was top of her class, hanging dead from a tree in her school uniform.
Mpungose went on the run on Tuesday afternoon after the alleged murders and was found the following day in another part of Durban where he was arrested.
It has also been alleged that he called the biological father of 16-year-old Ayakha and told him to come and fetch his ‘parcel’ from the woods.
When he was arrested it is alleged that he was in the process of trying to kill himself.
Once arrested, he admitted to murdering the four children in cold blood.
He claimed he believed his wife of 11 years years was leaving him to return to the father of her first child after finding messages between them on her phone.
Xolisile said she could not attend the sentencing hearing due to her grief, and said in a victim impact statement read to the court: ‘I cannot beat from my mind the pictures he left me seeing of my children hanging.
‘Even today I cannot go back to my house because I cannot wash away the terrible pictures I have in my mind all the time. I am haunted by the cries of my children because I could not save them.
‘I feel my life ended the day my children were killed’ she said.
Judge Sharmaine Balton handed down four life sentences to Mpungose at Pietermaritzburg High Court and said: ‘Your actions that day towards your children were horrendous and inhumane.
‘Based on the evidence from the autopsy alone I can only imagine what must have gone through the minds of these vulnerable children when you committed these heinous crimes against them.
‘These innocent children would have no reason to expect anything untoward when you picked them up from school and you did these horrendous acts to spite your wife. You were their father.
‘You did it because you suspected she was having an extra-marital affair and you could not accept her denial of your suspicions and the fact she regarded the marriage to you was over.
‘You instead used the children as pawns in this feud with you wife and this is inhumane and exceptionally aggravating against you especially as three were your own flesh and blood.
‘There are no words to adequately describe your actions,’ she said.
The judge added that the crime scene photographs of the dead children were ‘horrendous’.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said at the time of his arrest: ‘It was a horrible scene for my officers to be confronted with and we soon arrested the father for four terrible murders.’
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