Mother smeared rat poison on breast to kill infant son after murdering three older children over partner's affair

Zinhle Maditla pleaded guilty to four counts of premeditated murder in connection to the December 2018 deaths of her children

                            Mother smeared rat poison on breast to kill infant son after murdering three older children over partner's affair
(Getty Images)

A South African mother pleaded guilty to killing her four children, including an 11-month-old boy, by using rat poison and then begged the court for mercy.

Zinhle Maditla, of Klarinet, Mpumalanga, turned herself over at the Vosman police station December 30, 2018, after her four children—two girls, aged four and eight, and two boys, aged seven years and 11 months—were found dead in her rented room, according to IOL.

All four children were found wrapped in blankets, and none showed any signs of blunt force trauma or wounds that would suggest the cause of death.

Maditla allegedly confessed to the police that she had had an argument with her ex-boyfriend on December 27 and that, shortly after, she hatched a plan to kill the children by poisoning them.

She said, after feeding them the food laced with poison, she put them to sleep in her rented room, covered them with a duvet and then slept in the same room. A subsequent toxicology report confirmed that all four children had rat poison in their system.

Maditla also allegedly confessed to trying to kill herself by eating the same poisoned food after discovering that all her children were dead.

During her initial appearances in court, her defense had argued that the state should run psychiatric evaluations on the mother because of the nature of the crimes she had committed.

The judge had granted the request and Maditla had been remanded into custody for the examination. This past week, the judge at the Middelburg High Court received the report, which had concluded that the mother was fit to stand trial.

Maditla wasted no time in entering a guilty plea to four counts of premeditated murder, confessing to "intentionally and unlawfully" killing them and taking responsibility for all four deaths.

She also read a statement where she explained how and why she killed the children, and how she acted on that fateful day.

She claimed she was "emotionally broken" after discovering that her then-partner, and father to two of the children, was seeing another woman, and decided she would kill the children after coming across a vendor selling rat poison on her way home. 

She said she mixed the poison with achaar and bread for the family meal that night and fed it to her three older kids. Then, she said she made a plan to "smear her breast" with the poison so she could kill her infant son as well.

The mother told the court she had every intention of killing herself after committing the heinous act and that she also consumed the rat poison on two separate occasions.

She revealed that, after killing the children, she lied about their whereabouts and went on a "drinking spree with friends" before turning herself in. "I admit I have no defense in law for my conduct on that day," she said. "I request the court for mercy.”

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