South Africa 22.7.2013 12:00 am

Father pleads not guilty to family murder

THE North Gauteng High Court yesterday heard how the lifeless bodies of two little girls, dressed in identical pink dotted dresses, were allegedly found in the back of their father’s car.

The North Gauteng High Court yesterday heard how the lifeless bodies of two little girls, dressed in identical pink dotted dresses, were allegedly found in the back of their father’s car.

The girls’ father, Evans Mpanyane, 33, of Mamelodi, pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering his pregnant wife Cornelia and daughters Priscilla, six, and Joy, seven, near Kameeldrift in the North of Pretoria in December 2011.

He gave no explanation for his plea.

The State alleges Mpanyane had disposed of his wife’s body in the veld after strangling her before strangling his daughters.

Various suicide notes were allegedly tucked into the back of his wife’s bra. Bongani Matlabela, who was walking to a spaza shop with her husband in the Kameeldrift area that day, testified that they had seen a blue car parked under a Jacaranda tree.

When they came closer, they saw Mpanyane driving slowly past them.

Two little girls in pink dotted dresses appeared to be playing on the back seat of the car, as they were kneeling on the seat.

After returning from the spaza shop they saw car tracks near the Jacaranda tree and the apparently lifeless body of a woman lying on her stomach under the tree.

They went back to the shop where the owner alerted the police. Matlabela saw the blue car again when she was taken back to the scene.

“Then I realised that the little girls I’d seen earlier were also dead,” she said.

Matlabela’s husband Maluse Soko said the little girls were definitely alive when he first saw them, but there was no sign of life when he saw them again with their heads next to each other in the back seat of the car.

Warrant Officer Leseja Kekana testified that Cornelia Mpanyane was only wearing her underwear when he saw her body lying under the tree. A note had been tucked into her bra strap. A while later another police officer stopped a suspicious blue vehicle with Mpanyane in the driver’s seat and the bodies of two little girls in the back seat.

The trial continues.

 

today in print