The Polokwane High Court in Limpopo on Wednesday heard that former attorney Lucas Phasha, accused of killing his four young children was a cruel man who abused his wife.
Phasha is charged with four counts of murder for the deaths of Katlego, 9, Joyce, 7, Tshepo, 5, and Adel, 3, at Ga-Phasha village in the Sekhukhune district on 17 February 2020.
He allegedly hacked three of the children with an axe and bludgeoned the youngest with a huge stone, before dumping their bodies at two different locations.
On the day of the killing, he posted Facebook messages accusing his wife of cheating on him, saying she neglected their children and would never see them again.
The messages have since been admitted as evidence.
Sleeping with another man
His wife, Sylvia Monyela, testified on Wednesday that her body had been covered with scars from constant beatings.
“When I first met him, he was a nice man. But now you would never like my body because of this man.
“At some stage, I was at my parental home with my children. He came and threatened me with a knife and to shoot me with my children. He forced me to go back with him where we stayed,” Monyela said.
She said he went to her aunt’s place, armed with an axe and a knife, suspecting she was sleeping with another man.
Defence attorney Lucky Mkhize said Phasha admitted he had gone to the house armed, in case a fight broke out with a man he suspected was with his wife. But there was no man.
Mkhize then turned to calls Phasha made to Monyela on the day of the killings, and the following day.
Monyela said she remembered the call vividly, with Phasha saying he was taking the children to the police station and would then kill himself.
She broke down when Mkhize pressed on.
“This man killed my four children. He hacked three of them with an axe and drove nails into their heads. He hit the young one with a huge stone on the head and you are standing here, defending him,” she said, sobbing.
After a short break, she said there was CCTV footage from a house in the area, in which Phasha was seen “shepherding” the children to a place where they had been found dead.
The court previously admitted the evidence of a neighbour, who said Phasha called him and admitted to the killings, and directed him to where the bodies had been dumped.
But Mkhize put it to Monyela that Phasha’s cellphone had recordings that would show he did not admit to the neighbour about the killings.
He said the cellphone was later given to her by the police. She replied that she continued to use the cellphone, but it was damaged in March this year.
Investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Phillip Mohlala testified about the CCTV footage, in which Phasha was seen leaving his home with three children.
After an objection by the defence, the state agreed that the evidence be deferred, until such time it become crucial in the trial.
Mohlala also testified about the horrific finding of the bodies of the children. He said the three bodies of the children were laid according to their succession.
The youngest one had his head crushed with a huge stone.
A trial-within-a-trial then ensued over the admissibility of a statement by the accused.
The trial continues on Thursday.