Man kills nephew, 1, for satanic money making ritual

A man was sentenced to life in prison by the Pretoria High Court for murdering his one-year-old nephew in what he claimed was a “satanic, money-making ritual” at their Ekangala residence. Sipho Vincent Maseko, the victim’s uncle, committed the crime on September 30, 2020.

According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana, Maseko diverted the attention of the child’s helper by asking her to go buy airtime.

While she was away, he strangled his nephew, jumped on his chest, and then poured boiling water on his face.

“When the helper returned from the shop, she found the lifeless body of the child tucked inside the bed, covered,” said Mahanjana.

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Mahanjana explained that Maseko handed himself over to the authorities after the nanny contacted the family and informed the community. He has remained in police custody since then. Despite pleading guilty, Maseko refused to accept responsibility for his actions, blaming the influence of the devil.

“In court, he pleaded guilty to the charge of premeditated murder… He said he killed his nephew as a form of satanic sacrifice to have money. And the day he killed the child, he was not himself, the devil took over,” said Mahanjana.

“He also told the court that he had previously tried to kill his nephew two weeks before the incident by smothering him with his hand, but he survived because he cried. However, after the first attempt, the child sustained permanent damage, which resulted in him being disabled.”

During the court proceedings, a victim impact statement revealed the mother’s struggles with alcoholism, emotional distress, and a miscarriage triggered by the loss of her child.

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Advocate Andre Wilsenach, advocating for the harshest penalty, told the court that Maseko showed no remorse and committed the heinous act out of greed. Judge Mashudu Munzhelele agreed and imposed a life sentence on Maseko.

“Judge Munzhelele said she found no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentence and that she hoped the sentence would educate the public about the importance of protecting the most vulnerable,” said Mahanjana.

The court ordered that the mother of the child be informed should Maseko be eligible for parole so that she could make representations.


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