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Friday, 1 April 2011

SWAZI KILLER SENTENCED TO HANG

Swazi serial killer sentenced to hang

MBABANE — Convicted Swazi serial killer David Simelane was sentenced today (1 April 2011) to death by hanging, after being convicted last week for the death of 28 people, mostly women and children.

Judge Jacobus Annandale had been expected only to hear mitigation from the defence today, but instead he swiftly handed down the death sentence nine days after convicting Simelane.

No executions have been carried out in Swaziland since 1983.

Simelane will appeal both the conviction and the sentence, his court-appointed attorney Mduduzi "Tsotsi" Mabila said, but added that Simelane had been prepared for the worst.

"He said he was ready for anything," Mabila told AFP.

Women's rights groups celebrated the verdict outside court. Mbali Dlamini of the Women's Coalition said the swift sentence had come as a surprise in a case that had dragged over a decade.

"He is not a person that should be let out into society ever, so it is right that he be hung," she told AFP.

Dlamini said the focus should now be on allowing the families of the victim?s closure as they had waited a decade to bury their loved ones. The remains have been held by the state as evidence.

"Now it is about the families -- not David," she said.

Simelane's killing spree is believed to have begun in the late 1990s and lasted until 2001 when families began reporting missing relatives.

Police arrested Simelane in 2001 on a tip-off, and he then led them to the shallow graves of his victims in sites dotted around the country.

A total of 45 bodies, including several pregnant women, were discovered -- most in the woods in Malkerns, outside Swaziland's main city Manzini. He was charged with 34 murders, and convicted of 28.

Police claimed Simelane lured the women with the promise of work. When their bodies were discovered, they were too badly decomposed to determine if they had been raped.

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