A habitual criminal who robbed, raped and killed five young women in less than a year was handed 13 life sentences in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.George Motale, 63, who has a long list of previous offences that he absconded or attempted to escape from since 1976, was handed the highest sentence for his reign of terror between 2011 and 2012, which saw him murder five women in Krugersdorp, Tarlton and Randfontein.Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Hurbetin Phindi Mjonondwane said Motale, from Mshenguville, had been sentenced 24 times for offences ranging from theft and malicious damage to property, burglary and attempting to escape from lawful custody.The five victims he and a co-perpetrator were charged with robbing, raping and killing were aged between 20 and 30."The accused would approach them with job offers and lure them to deserted areas where they would perform the criminal acts," Mjonondwane said.Motale had pleaded not guilty to all charges, while his co-accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2012.Motale was convicted in December last year."Before Judge Moses Mavundla passed the sentence, the accused testified in mitigation and persisted that all the allegations against him are not true, however, the court exercised its discretion when passing sentence," Mjonondwane said."Motale's defence counsel also proposed at least 25 years imprisonment, basing their argument on the fact that the he has been in custody for seven years and that the court needs to consider his age."Senior prosecutor Pakanyiswa Marasela called for life imprisonment, arguing Motale was a habitual criminal and should be removed from society to prevent further harm on innocent, vulnerable women, Mjonondwane said."Judge Mavundla said the incidents occurred over a protracted period, that these offences were not opportunistic but were rather premeditated and deliberate. He ruled that the accused takes no responsibility for the consequences of the results of his crimes and deserves to be permanently removed from society."- Compiled by Tammy Petersen.