An uncle has been sentenced to four life sentences for killing his sister's four children for their ears in Ncukeni, Port Edward, on KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast.Ben Zimele Mbhele, 32, was sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday for the murders of his two nephews and two nieces – aged between four and 12. Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Mbhele was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to the murders he committed on September 2, last year. "He was arrested at his home in Ncukeni area on March 9 after a lengthy investigation by a team of investigators tasked to solve the killings of the minors," said Gwala. Three of the children who were found lying inside the family home with multiple stab wounds on their bodies had their left ears cut off, said Gwala. "The other body was found lying outside the house with multiple stab wounds. The children were alone at the time of the attack," she said.Insurance on children In his guilty plea, Mbhele said he killed siblings Lwandle, Bandile, Sphindile and Lwandile because he needed their ears to take to a Durban traditional healer who had promised to pay lots of money for them.He said he met a man on August 16 last year, who told him about a plan to get money from selling the children's ears to a traditional healer.The State, which accepted his plea, alleged that Mbhele had killed the children to put in a claim on a funeral policy he had taken out on them. The court heard that Mbhele had insured each child for R15 000. Mbhele claimed the R60 000 after the children's deaths without informing family members, the court heard. Acting provincial police commissioner Major General Bheki Langa welcomed Mbhele's sentence. "This sentence will also serve as a warning to other criminals who think they will get away after committing crimes. We hope this sentence will bring closure to the family," he said.