The atmosphere in the high court is heavy with emotion. It’s been just more than two years since the brutal double murder of two schoolgirls rocked the farming community of Stella in North West and now it’s judgment day for Xander Bylsma.
Standing in the dock wearing a buff as a mask, the 21-year-old’s expression is stony-faced as Judge Ronald Hendricks tells him his fate: that he’s being given two life sentences for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Sharnelle Hough (17), and her best friend, Marna Engelbrecht (16).
But Sharnelle’s father doesn’t leave anyone in any doubt about how relieved he’s feeling. As the judge delivers the sentence, Ronnie gasps.