A South African policewoman was sentenced Friday to six life sentences for killing her boyfriend and five family members to collect life insurance, after a chilling trial that has riveted South Africa.
Rosemary Ndlovu, 46, was convicted last month of killing her cousin, sister, boyfriend, niece, nephew and another relative between 2012 and 2017 by shooting, bludgeoning or strangulation.
The court also found her guilty of attempting to kill her mother, her sister and her sister's five children.
In addition to the six life sentences for murder, the judge added 95 years in prison for incitement to murder, attempted murder and insurance fraud.
"In practice, the years of imprisonment amount to (life imprisonment)," said Judge Ramarumo Monama.
Much of the trial was broadcast live in South Africa, where the recounting of some of the gruesome details stunned the nation. The woman's composure in the face of horrific accusations contributed to the unease.
The accused allegedly took out life and funeral insurance policies in the name of her victims, and then claimed the money after their death. She denied everything. "I am not the person who took out the insurance policies for my murdered sister", she said in Tsonga, before translation.
According to the prosecution, she would have made some 80,000 euros from her murderous enterprise.
Contract killers are suspected to have carried out most of her macabre plan, but Mrs. Ndlovu is said to have personally taken care of her sister Audrey, poisoning her tea before strangling her.
She was still planning in 2018 to set fire to the home of another of her sisters, a mother of five children, including a baby, when the intended killer snapped...and notified the police.
She thus explained to the man, accompanied by his supposed accomplice, in fact a policeman, that it was necessary first to knock out them of sleeping pills then to fill their mouth of socks to stifle the cries.
A few days earlier, another hitman had flickered at the sight of the defendant's elderly mother. He gave up his job, asked the frail woman for a glass of water and left the house.