Women Behind Bars

She was rejected by the daughter she killed for

Her husband was an alcoholic who beat her. She claims the abuse was an open secret among family and friends

01 August 2018 - 06:00 By Naledi Shange
Image: 123RF/Evgheni Slav

A 58-year-old woman, who was given a 25-year jail sentence for murdering her husband after he reportedly raped her daughter, has spoken out about the heartache of being deserted by the daughter she killed for.

*Lilah Loots shared her story at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre last week as she and the other inmates were visited by members of the Gauteng Legislature.

Loots recalled a heartbreaking conversation with her daughter.

“A few weeks ago, my daughter came to me and she said, ‘Mommy, what I am going to tell you now, is going to hurt you.’

“She said, ‘We are tired of looking after you in prison. Don’t phone us. We will come when we can and when you come out we will put you in an old age home.’”

Loots said she had planned her husband’s murder and hired a hit man to carry it out as she claimed she “didn’t have the guts” to do it herself.

“I planned his murder because, the night before, he told me, ‘You are so stupid. I am sleeping with your daughter as well’," said Loots.

It was an apparent reference to sexually assaulting the girl. Loots did not clarify whether the child was her husband’s biological father.

TimesLIVE has chosen to withhold her name to protect the identity of her children.

“The sexual abuse I went through… I cannot ever have sex in my life again because there is nothing there,” she added, sobbing as she grabbed the microphone.

Loots said her husband was an alcoholic who had beaten her. The abuse was an open secret among family and friends.

She was eventually arrested for his death and has only five years of her sentence left to serve.

“I came in here a broken woman. I trusted nobody. I was just crying. I was a very quiet person, but I got the opportunity to start teaching and, you know, I love teaching,” she said.

“Inside here I have got grandmothers, mothers, and children. I am not sorry that I came here because I have learned so much,” Loots added.

She planned to go and study towards an adult basic education training course so she could help the elderly to read and write.

“I am going to go out there and I am hoping to be a strong person that can help other people. I will work with abused woman to save at least one woman and one child,” she added.

Moved by her tale of rejection, Gauteng Legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe encouraged Loots, saying she and other women in the facility were all her children.

“Like you ladies, I have also been in prison, but for a different reason. I am into politics. I was arrested and was in prison,” said Mekgwe.

“Whatever you have done, we cannot judge you… Society normally fails us.”

The facility, also known was Sun City prison, currently has 706 sentenced female offenders. Another 273 are awaiting trial.

The prison also had a section for juvenile female offenders and another for new mothers who gave birth behind bars or have young children. The women are allowed to have their babies with them until they were two-years-old.

Prison officials said the female section was meant to cater for 613 prisoners and was severely overcrowded.

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