From the archives: Former Limpopo lawyer gets four life sentences for murder of his children

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Former lawyer Lucas Phasha has received a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering his four children.
Former lawyer Lucas Phasha has received a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering his four children.
Thomo Nkgadima

She can finally breathe after the father of her children was sentenced for killing them.

The 52-year-old Limpopo former attorney, Lucas Phasha, was found guilty, convicted and sentenced to life sentences for each count of murder for killing his own children. 

He murdered his and Sylvia Monyela’s four children, Katlego (9), Joyce (7), Tshepo (5) and Adel (3) in February 2020. The four young ones were found dead in Ga-Phasha village, Limpopo.

Judge Gerrit Muller handed down a lengthy judgement on Friday, 4 June at the Polokwane High Court.

The court was filled with family and supporters, among them was Limpopo MEC for Social Development Nkakareng Rakgoale, who came to support the family as the country marks National Child Protection Week.

The MEC lauded the lengthy sentence. "We feel relieved honestly speaking especially because this comes when we commemorate Child Protection Week. It sends a message to the public out there that we have a responsibility, all of us, to protect children. We are happy as the department. The mother feels relieved. She can't get her children back but she will sleep peacefully now that law has run its course."

The children’s mother, Sylvia, could not contain her happiness outside court.

"I am very, very happy. I don't know what to do. He must go, he knows that he killed my children. He hurt me so much when he refused to accept his wrong doing.” 

Lucas has been in trouble with the law before. He tried to shoot his ex-girlfriend and the bullet missed and hit a neighbour’s toddler.

He only spent six years behind bars and was struck off the roll of attorneys. 

He was released on parole in 2008 and completed serving his parole in 2014. 

In mitigation of sentence his lawyer, advocate Lawrence Mkhize told the court that in 1996 and 1997 he worked with Lucas as partners until he was struck of the court roll.

"My client Phasha at the time of his conviction he was trying to be re-admitted.”

The state prosecutor Adv Mashudu Mudau asked the court for a harsh sentence that will serve as deterrent to others.

"What have you learned from the previous conviction of murder and 3 counts of attempted murder. You were not rehabilitated. You are not a candidate of Rehabilitation." 

Judge Gerrit Muller outlined how the court may deviate from a minimum prescription of sentence in case of serious crime committed.

"In this case your personal circumstances that you are married and you have business are immaterial. The community is horrified about what happened. Chances for rehabilitation are very slim looking at the previous conviction."

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