A man who ran his lover over with her car “like she is a hare in the road”, killing her, ha been sentenced to 19 years imprisonment.

The court found the woman was murdered while running away from her lover following an argument over a trivial issue involving R1 200 rent money.

It had emerged that she ran to the neighbours for help as she feared he would assault her.

The accused, only identified as Mr M in the judgment, told the court he was a gospel singer who earned his income from selling some albums and giving live performances on occasions.

The 27-year-old murdered his lover, a 46-year-old married mother of four.

The court heard her husband had no idea about the affair and was out of the country when the accused moved into the home the husband had earlier shared with his wife.

Judge Hein Brauchkmann, sitting in the Middelburg High Court, said the accused, as a man of the cloth, acted contrary to all the tenets of Christianity.

The judge said “He betrayed the woman he purported to love and killed her in one of the cruellest ways possible. He used her own vehicle as a weapon to execute his murderous fantasy”.

According to the accused, the deceased lost her temper when he spoke to her about paying the rent and she pushed him around. He grabbed her by her hands, but she managed to break free and ran out of the house and towards a neighbour’s home.

The accused then took her vehicle and followed her. After she entered the neighbour’s gate, he took a short-cut over the neighbour’s border fence and turned sharply to cut the running and fleeing deceased off before she could reach the home.

In the process, and because he was driving fast, he bumped into the deceased and ran over her. She was trapped under the vehicle until the community assisted him to lift it.

The accused estimated the deceased was trapped for about 30 minutes before they managed to pull her out. He tried to resuscitate her, but she was already dead.

The accused said he held her body in his lap until police arrived and arrested him. He told judge Brauchkmann he was remorseful, could not sleep at night and kept seeing images of her. The man pleaded for forgiveness. He also said as a man of God, he felt terrible about his affair with a married woman.

When the accused was shown pictures depicting the deceased’s corpse, he burst out in tears in court before apologising to her husband for the affair.

The man said he didn’t know why his lover had run away from him, claiming he had never laid a finger on her before.

The man said he was extremely angry because the deceased would not allow him to take the rental to the landlord himself. He admitted he murdered her over a trivial argument.

The judge said during sentencing “She was running from him for her life”.

Judge Brauchkmann also said men were not there to kill their lovers and women in their lives. “These women trust them enough to leave the safety of their parents’ homes and move in with them. This is a huge step for any woman and one she does not take unless she trusts her man.”

He said the woman trusted the accused so much she was prepared to leave her husband of 28 years for him.