Cape Town – Judge John Murphy on Tuesday took into account the public humiliation convicted murderer Thandi Maqubela had to endure when sentencing her to 18 years behind bars.
“I accept that the accused has suffered public humiliation and a fall from grace,” said Murphy during sentencing in the Western Cape High Court.
Maqubela sentencing follows her conviction in 2013 for the 2009 murder of her acting High Court Judge husband Patrick.
The late acting judge was found dead in his Bantry Bay flat.
Murphy accepted that the late acting judge’s infidelity could have contributed to Maqubela’s actions as she viewed his actions as “beneath their social standing”.
“Before the arrest, the accused was successful both as a businessperson and socially,” said Murphy.
“Her position in society was important to her and the deceased’s extra-marital behaviour could have been seen by her as beneath their social standing,” said Murphy.
Murphy went on to discuss aggravating circumstances and Maqubela’s “callous” behaviour following her husband’s death.
“The accused used her experience as a nurse to accelerate the decomposition of the body and sat with the body for hours after,” said Murphy.
He added that Maqubela had brought her children and colleagues into her “web of deceit” through actions such as messaging them pretending to be the deceased and abusing the trust of her attorney to commit fraud.
Murphy added that in forging her husband’s will, which excluded his children, Maqubela did not consider the long-term effects of her actions which could have them believe their father was unconcerned about their future.
“The accused advanced her own interests above that of the children,” he said.
Murphy sentenced Maqubela to 15 years imprisonment on the murder count, three-years for forgery, and a further three years for fraud.
The forgery and fraud sentences, which relate to the late acting judge’s will, would run concurrently.