Mum Defends Son After Jail Term For Killing Teen Girls

Story ByLee Bullen, Sub EditorJoseph Golder, AgencyNewsflash

The mother of a convicted South African killer has said that she is not ashamed of him after he received two life sentences for killing his teen ex-girlfriend and her friend in a school hostel and then trying to make it look like a double suicide.

Xander Bylsma, 20, has been given two life sentences for killing the two teen girls, 17-year-old Marna Engelbrecht and 16-year-old Sharnelle Hough, in a school hostel in the South African province of North West on 26th May 2018.

Bylsma and Hough had been dating for about a year before splitting a month before the killings.


The mother of the victim who was his ex-girlfriend, Sonja Hough, reportedly said: “I hate him for what he did to my child, but I don’t harbour the kind of anger of wanting to kill him.”

Hough’s body was discovered hanging from a bannister while her friend’s corpse was found in a bathroom. Bylsma had strangled both teens and tried to make their deaths appear like suicide.

Soon after the bodies were found, Bylsma confessed to private detective Chris Saunders before turning himself in at a police station in the town of Vryburg.


In delivering his sentence on 15th August, Judge Ronald Hendricks said Bylsma showed no remorse and that his actions were “disgusting”.

However, his parents Mercia and her ex-husband Monte, both former police officers, have maintained that their son is not guilty.

The mother told the newspaper Rapport: “It’s my child, God gave him to me. People look at me strangely when I say this, but I will not change my mind because I am not ashamed of my child.”


The parents also plan to appeal the sentence because they want to “see the real culprit in court and also want the murder to be solved”, according to Mercia.

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