A sick mum and her brother have been banged up for life for the horrific rape and strangling to death of her two-year-old daughter.
Tragic Josephine Athalia Bombando was tortured and killed at a hotel in Midrand, South Africa, in April 2021.
The autopsy report gave her cause of death as “application of external pressure to the neck that left her thyroid fractured and blunt force trauma to the head”.
Coroners determined from injuries to her private parts that she had also been raped.
The suspects were named as 27-year-old mum Esther Mwenda Brown and her brother Mike Brown, 25.
The High Court in Johannesburg found the pair guilty of murder, rape, and contravention of the Immigration Act.
The court gave the defendants – who come from DR Congo – three life terms, as well as 18 months behind bars for the overstaying of their visas.
The court heard how ‘ritual’ oil markings resembling crucifixes were found on mirrors and other shiny objects in the hotel room the pair had booked.
State prosecutor Advocate Paul Nel told the court: “The rape and murder were premeditated as part of a ritual killing.”
The sick crime was discovered when the siblings took Josephine’s lifeless body down to the hotel reception.
Horrified staff called paramedics, but the first responders were only able to pronounce the toddler dead.
The siblings were swiftly seized by police.
The defendants reportedly showed no remorse during their trial and refused to give their version of events in court.
However, local media reported that the pair had apparently believed that Josephine was possessed by demons.
DR Congo – swathes of which the FCO advises against travel to – is infamous for its belief in ‘kindoki’, or evil spirits.
Children accused of being possessed by kindoki are subjected to forced exorcisms, which have been noted for their violence and cruelty.