Man gets 20 years for killing baby
Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A man who murdered his lover’s 10-month-old baby boy by slamming the child’s head against a wall and fracturing his skull in a fit of rage and jealousy, has been jailed for 20 years.
Passing sentence on Mduduzi Sphamandla Mpanza, of Msingingazi reserve near Richards Bay on Monday, Judge Rishi Seegobin said the baby’s murder would have a devastating and traumatic effect on the baby’s mother.
“When people behave in this fashion, the public requires effective sanctions against the perpetrators of such savagery,” the judge said.
Although the court found compelling and substantial circumstances in favour of the accused, the judge said Mpanza had shown no respect for human life and the only appropriate sentence was a long prison term.
Mitigating factors found by the court were that the killing was not premeditated, but a spontaneous reaction to Mpanza’s discovery that his lover had gone out with her boyfriend when he arrived to visit her, and that he acted in a fit of rage and jealousy.
The judge likened his behaviour to that of a “madman”.
In aggravation, the court said, Mpanza had chosen to vent his anger on an innocent and defenceless baby.
“I find it most difficult to accept that he could not control his anger at the time and take up any issue he had with the child’s mother, rather than vent his anger on the baby,” the judge declared. “But that is what he did and he needs to go to jail for a very long time.”
Pleading guilty last week, Mpanza said the baby was the child of his former girlfriend, Nonhlanhla Mbuli.
Even though he was no longer in a “love relationship” with her, they still engaged in sex and she had led him to believe they would reconcile, he said.
On the night of February 1, after he had been drinking, Mpanza said he went to see Mbuli and was told she had gone out with the baby’s father.
In anger he tried to assault the woman looking after the child, and when she fled, he grabbed the sleeping baby and hit him against a wall.