Johannesburg: An Indian-origin man in South Africa who clubbed his wife and two children to death with 'gadas', traditional Indian maces, was sentenced on Tuesday to three life terms in prison.
Mogamberry Rajan Kandasamy, from the sprawling Indian township of Chatsworth near Durban, escaped a death sentence only because it has been outlawed constitutionally in the post-apartheid democratic order, lawyers said.
Kandasamy, 45, was given three life sentences for the murder of his wife, Versha, 41, his son Megandran, 17, and his 18-year-old daughter, Melarisa, whom he bludgeoned to death at their home in Chatsworth in December 2013.
Kandasamy had attacked the family after he learnt his wife wanted a divorce because she wanted to marry another man.
In a gory graphic evidence during the trial over two years, the court heard the attack was so severe that one of the sturdy maces had broken after the daughter was struck on the skull with it several times.
"While she was on the floor, I hit her twice with the Hanuman stick on her head. On the third strike the stick broke," Kandasamy had said in a confession submitted at the trial.
Captain Sathisiven Naidu said Kandasamy had made the confession of his own accord, although he claimed he had been coerced into doing this.
"I'm here to tell you what I did. I want to tell you the truth and come clean, it is eating me inside," Kandasamy told the policeman two days after the murder.
Kandasamy had initially pleaded not guilty, claiming that he had no memory of the attack or evidence by a state witness, Ashley Ganesh, that he had found Kandasamy wandering in a park near the family home.
After a period of observation at a mental health institution following his amnesia claim, Kandasamy was declared fit to stand trial.
Police had earlier ruled out the possibility that the murders could have been the result of an attempted robbery at the house, as alleged by Kandasamy, who also claimed that he might have been drugged by the alleged killer.