Life sentence for faith healer

A FAITH healer, found guilty of sexually violating and murdering a 12-year-old Pietermaritzburg girl in 2012, was sentenced to life plus seven years’ imprisonment on Friday.

Judge Piet Bezuidenhout imposed the sentence on Mzokhona Sibisi (37), after finding there were no compelling or substantial circumstances that would allow the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum penalty for the brutal murder of Ayanda Sibiya.

After being sexually assaulted in a forest, the child was hit over the head with a pickaxe handle, killing her. Her body was dumped in a water tank at a nearby church yard. A doctor testified that extremely severe force must have been used to cause her injuries.

She suffered a fractured skull, which was found to have “caved in” in several places. She was also stabbed four times in the head.

The motive for the incident was unclear as Sibisi testified that he had no recollection of what had happened.

He told the court that he had a “bad dream” in which he killed the child in response to the girl’s mother instructing him to make sure she was dead.

Sibisi said he had woken in his own bed but found his clothing was muddy and wet. According to him, if he did kill her, he could only have done so if he was under the influence of evil spirits which he believed also possessed the child and for which he had been treating her with prayer.

He testified that he had loved the child like his own daughter.

Three psychiatrists rejected his defence that he acted in a state of automatism and said in their view he was aware of what he was doing at the time.

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