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The mother, who has not been named, carried out the horrific murder on her friend’s toddler to protect her son.

The woman killed the girl with a blunt rock and dumped the body of the girl, named as Asanda Mbuku, in the backyard of her home next to a banana tree.

The mother, her son and her daughter went to sleep that night with the body outside their bedroom window, knowing that Asanda’s desperate family had formed a search party after she went missing.

The mother sent her rapist young son to school the next day, but he could not keep the sick secret to himself and confessed to his aunt when he returned home.

It is reported that he told her by pointing through the window to the backyard towards where the body was covered with corrugated iron sheets.

The 32-year-old mother appeared before the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday where she pleaded guilty to one count of murder and another of attempting to obstruct justice.

The mother cannot be identified in order to protect her son, who is now 11, and living in a ‘place of safety with his sister.’

The mother was sentenced to 11 years behind bars for the killing.

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela said the fact that the woman pleaded guilty, coupled with her having no one to care for her children, warranted a more lenient sentence.

The woman told the court she was sorry for what she had done. She also said she wanted to take the opportunity to publicly apologise to her friend, the mother of the victim, who was not in court.

She explained the situation happened after the young girl’s parents had asked her to look after her.

She said she had fed her and put her to bed and later realised when she found the girl half-naked that she had been raped by her son.

Asanda had gone to see the woman with her father, who he had asked to take care of her for a while.

‘I went to check and I found her lying on her back at the door. She was half-naked,’ she explained.

‘I realized she was not moving and sprinkled her with water to wake her, but she did not.’

She said she feared that if the child woke up and told people what had happened to her, her son would go to jail.

‘I took a rock and I hit her on her head to kill her. I hid her at the back of my garden. I did all this because my son had raped her and I did not want anyone to find out. I burnt her jacket and shoes.

‘When her parents came to the house to fetch her, I said I did not know where she was. I am so sorry for what I did. I beg you for mercy,’ the woman told the judge.

Judge Maumela said it was a pity that the mother did not realise that her son would not have been arrested. He said that in terms of the law, a child under 10 could not be held criminally responsible for their deeds.

Asanda’s furious uncle Sello Dikwelane said the family were not happy with the sentence.

He said: ‘I would have liked to see her sitting in jail for longer. She killed a sweet, innocent child who had her life ahead of her.

‘I’m not sure whether I can forgive her, but only God can judge.’

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