Kimberley – Peace Segoje, who was being sentenced in the Northern Cape High Court, apparently tried to escape from the police vehicle while he was being transported to court.
Segoje was on Wednesday sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the murder of his niece and a further three years for defeating the ends of justice. He was also given 12 months for theft.
It is believed that on his way to court Wednesday, Segoje kicked and broke the window of the police vehicle and cut his own throat.
He then apparently also started a fire in the back of the van and when police officials went to investigate the cause of the fire, he tried to flee but was apprehended.
Segoje was found guilty of killing his 15-year-old niece, Natefo Segoje, in February 2016 and dumping her body in a drain at Mapoteng Primary School in Kuruman.
The decomposed body of the teenager was found two months later in April 2016 after she was reported missing on March 3 at the Mothibistad police station.
The gruesome discovery was made after the school opened the drains to investigate why the toilets were blocked.
According to reports, Segoje was last seen with the deceased when she called and asked him for a lift after she was left stranded in Magojeng following a Desperado Bikers event.
The mother of the deceased, Masabata Segoje, said Wednesday that the family was still struggling to come to terms with the gruesome manner in which her daughter had died at the hands of a relative.
“Natefo had a very close bond with the accused. Traditionally in our family when it is someone’s birthday, we host a braai for that person. The accused was the one who usually did the braaiing of the meat. He got along very well with my daughter and also promised to teach her to drive,” the mother said.
She added that she was tremendously traumatised after she went to identify her daughter’s body.
“I was accompanied to the mortuary by my other daughter and my sister. The people told us that the strongest person amongst us must do the identification as it is not a good sight. My sister went inside first but she screamed. When she came out she collapsed. My daughter then went inside and confirmed that it was Natefo. I built up the courage to go inside and see. I could only see white bones it was not a good sight. I could only recognise the T-shirt that she was wearing and there was a foul smell. What I saw on the day looked nothing like my daughter.”
Masabata, who was initially standing, had to sit on the chair in the witness stand after she broke down when she spoke about the gruesome discovery.
Family members who were seated in the gallery also wept during her testimony.
She indicated to the court that she might have dealt with the death of her daughter better if her body had been discovered earlier.
“If she was found earlier, we could have given her a proper burial. We had to bury her as soon as possible as she was already badly decomposed.”
She added that she was not in a state to forgive the accused.
“I am very angry, hurt, disappointed and traumatised by what the accused did to my daughter. I do not want to see him and cannot believe he did such an act.”
During sentencing, Acting Judge Itiseng Matlapeng stated that the fact that Segoje was a relative of the deceased and a father to five daughters himself, highlighted just how horrific the incident was.
“The deceased was not in the company of the accused the entire night. He went to fetch her after she called him. He then went home with her and she said she wanted food, which the accused offered her. She however indicated that she wanted him to buy her food in Mothibistad. The deceased was under the influence of alcohol and the accused suspected that she had stolen his liquor. The accused was also under the influence of alcohol and he then throttled the deceased.
“What makes the incident more horrific is what the accused did afterwards. He hid the body and there was no evidence presented before court that the accused played any part in the discovery thereof. The accused afterwards disappeared,” Matlapeng said.
He added that the mother now had to live with the gruesome state in which her daughter’s body was discovered.
He said that the punishment fitted the crime.
However, after the sentencing the family of the deceased indicated that they were not pleased with the sentence handed down.
Masabata said that the law was too lenient on the accused.
“We were expecting at least a 30-year sentence. Nineteen years is nothing compared to the manner in which my daughter was murdered. I will never get to see her again, yet the accused will still be alive in prison. I am disappointed as the accused committed a cruel and painful act. We will not leave this matter here and will find a legal way of fighting the sentence,” she said.