State wants life sentence for Humphreys

2012-02-22 22:26
Cape Town - Taxi driver Jacob Humphreys should be jailed for life for killing 10 children, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

State advocate Susan Galloway said the only factors that counted in Humphreys' favour were his age and his having no previous convictions.

However, these were insufficient to justify any jail sentence less than life, she said.

Humphreys was convicted of murder, following an accident on August 25 2010 in Cape Town.

While taking children to school, he overtook a row of cars at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi, killing 10 of the children he was taking to school. Four others were seriously injured.

Galloway said on Wednesday Humphreys had had two previous opportunities to show remorse, but failed to do so. The first was when he was testifying in his own defence, and the other was when he testified in mitigation of his sentence.

"Instead of taking the court into his confidence and explaining his behaviour, he had persisted with his claim that he could not remember what happened."

Senior counsel for the defence Johann Engelbrecht said Humphreys had accepted the court's rejecting his claim of not remembering the accident.

"He does not deny that he was on the wrong side of the road as he overtook the string of cars that were stopped at the level crossing, but he cannot remember it."

Engelbrecht said his client had accepted responsibility for the crash.

"That morning my client was transporting children whom he loved, as if they were his own."

To that the judge said Humphreys was approaching the age of 60. As he had been transporting a number of children for a number of years, he should have known better.

Sentencing would take place on February 28.

Read more on:    jacob humphreys  |  cape town  |  transport  |  schoolbus tragedy

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