Cape Town killer signs plea deal

2012-05-24 17:12
Cape Town - A man pleaded guilty to beating his wife to death with a spade as part of an agreement in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

Antonio Saldanha, 33, signed a plea bargain and was sentenced to 25 years in jail for killing his estranged wife Claudia and another year for breaching a protection order against him, said spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

The sentences would run concurrently.

Claudia was granted a protection order in October 2010 to stop her husband from threatening or assaulting her and entering their home in Ravensmead.

The couple had been in the process of divorcing.

Saldanha admitted to unlawfully entering her house on March 5 2011, demanding to know which men were in there with her.

Once inside the house, she told him she did not want to be married anymore, and he punched her in the face in front of a neighbour and their young children, despite his son begging him to stop.

Claudia tried defending herself with a spade, but Saldanha grabbed it from her and repeatedly beat her with it. She died soon after from head and facial injuries.

Saldanha admitted that he went home to change out of his blood-spattered clothes before returning to the scene.

He expressed remorse for his premeditated actions.

Factors in aggravation of sentence were that his wife had been a breadwinner for three children, she had been in the process of obtaining a nursing bursary and that the children were robbed of their mother in a brutal manner.

The court took into account the seriousness of the crimes, the interests of the community and Saldanha's personal circumstances.

Read more on:    cape town

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