A man convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering an 8-year-old girl, Tazne van Wyk, has been sentenced to nine life terms in Cape town, South Africa.
Moehydian Pangaker, 57, was sentenced in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
The girl, from Connaught Estate, in Ravensmead, was last seen on February 7, 2020, after she left her home to buy a sucker lollipop at a shop, a few metres from her home.
The child’s body was found in a stormwater drain, along the N1 highway in Worcester, 12 days later. Pangaker had pointed out the location to the police.
Pangaker was found guilty of 21 of 27 charges in October, 2022. These charges include eight counts of rape of children, sexual assault, sexual exploitation of children, several counts of assault on child, kidnapping, incest, desecration of a corpse and absconding from parole.
While Pangaker maintained his innocence throughout the trial, Judge Alan Maher did not mince his words as he delivered his judgment in October last year. He described Pangaker as a sexual predator with a high sex drive who preyed on little girls.
Pangaker has previous convictions ranging from 1981 to 2004.
During his sentencing, Maher said Pangaker was a deceitful, manipulative and cruel individual who could not be placed back into society.
“His crimes are a hallmark of predatory behaviour. As the accused accepts no responsibilities for his crimes there is clearly no sign of rehabilitation
“After he kidnapped Tazne, he had ample opportunity to change his mind. She died alone, away from her family in the dark and most probably in a lot of pain, Maher said.
The accused was not content on just raping, kidnapping and murder Tazne but desecrated her body and discarded her in a storm water drain. Her body had works and the impact it has in her parents, family cannot be described. It’s permanent.” the judge said.
He also said Pangaker knew Tazne’s family was frantic and the community was angry, this was evident by the calls he received from relatives. Yet he did not care.
“The kidnapping of a child is every parent’s fear. From calls he received he knew how frantic her parents were and how angry the community was. His motive was purely sexual,?
?The CCTV footage where Tazne was last seen alive by anyone except the accused is chilling. She shows no fear. The footage shows she trusts the accused and shows she was oblivious with no notion of the danger she was in. Such innocence,”
“The viciousness, situations and circumstances and all offences were committed against defenceless victims. He is a sexual predator who preys upon young children known to him, Judge Maher said.
Throughout proceedings, Pangaker kept his head down in the dock and the packed courtroom gallery saw people sitting on the edges of their seats.
?Every murder is serious but the brutal and senseless murder of an 8-year-old girl, late at night, away from her family, must have been horrible and painful. The accused has a heart of darkness and the actions of the accused is proof thereof, Judge Maher said.
He went further, stating that Pangaker desecrating Tazne’s body by removing her left hand was an attempt to keep her identity hidden.
Judge Maher said the multiple other rapes that Pangaker has been convicted of, in which victims were related to him, was an abuse of power.
The accused abused his position of power and authority. He showed his victims no mercy. His victims were known to him including his daughter,” the judge said.
He also emphasized the importance of the courts to hand down heavy sentences to those perpetrating horrendous crimes as communities sought justice for the lives of those lost.
He is a dangerous and cunning criminal. Communities observe sentences imposed and in light of the increase in murders of young and innocent victims, the community craves the assistance of the court, Judge Maher said.
He said the outrage from the community regarding Tazne’s kidnapping, rape and murder was justifiable.
Pangaker was sentenced to 259 and a half years in prison.
The sentencing runs as follows as per the charge sheet:
Count 1: Indecent assault – two years
Count 2: Sexual exploitation – 18 months
Count 3: Sexual exploitation – two years
Count 4 : Assault – two years
Count 6: Assault – 18 months
Count 7: Rape – life imprisonment
Count 8: Vaginal rape – life imprisonment
Count 12: Vaginal rape – life imprisonment
Count 13: Sexual assault – six months
Count 14: Vaginal rape – life imprisonment
Count 16: Rape – life imprisonment
Count 17: Rape – life imprisonment
Count 18: Rape – life imprisonment
Count 19: Kidnapping – five years
Count 21: -Incest – six years
Count 22: Assault – three years
Count 23: Kidnapping – seven years
Count 24: Rape – life imprisonment
Count 25: Murder – life imprisonment
Count 26: Desecration of a body – two years
Count 27: Breach of parole/absconding – two years
Judge Maher deemed Pangaker a danger to society.
The accused is a danger to society and a danger to women and children particularly. He needs to be removed from the community, he said.
It was also ordered that Pangaker’s name be entered into the National Sexual Offences Registry.
As court adjourned there were loud cheers, screams and visible tears of joys in the gallery.
Outside court, Tazne’s mother, Carmen van Wyk, attended proceedings with the baby she gave birth to a few months before.
All Carmen said was: I am happy with the outcome.”
The spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Eric Ntabazalila, said the sentencing handed down was welcomed.
“We are very, very satisfied with the sentence. We are really happy that finally the victims of the crimes, the heinous crimes committed by Pangaker, have received justice, Ntabazalila said.
Community activist Celestea Pierang, who was part of the search party for Tazne and attended every court appearance, was stunned and overwhelmed with emotion.
“I have a whirlwind of emotions. As a community, we are happy, we are grateful. We are thankful for Judge Maher for the judgment and the sentencing he has done. While the sentences run concurrently, we know he will never see the light of day. It’s nine life sentences, she said.