The Provincial Commissioner of North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena welcomed two life sentences handed down to Xander Bylsma, 21, by the North West High Court in Mmabatho on Friday, 7 August 2020 for two counts of murder.

The sentencing of Bylsma follows his apprehension on Saturday, 26 May 2018 in connection with the brutal double murder of the then 17-year-old Sharnelle Hough and 16-year-old Marna Engelbrecht.  The girls’ bodies were found at Stella High School hostel in the early hours of Saturday morning by the hostel matron. The latter found Sharnelle’s body hanging from the rails of the staircase in the hostel. She alerted the school management and the incident was reported to the police. Upon crime scene investigation, the police discovered Marna’s body with a string around her neck at the hostel’s bathroom.

Subsequent to intensive investigation; Bylsma who was Sharnelle’s ex-boyfriend, was arrested. He has been incarcerated since his arrest.

Upon sentencing the accused, the court also declared him unfit to possess a firearm in terms of section 103 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000).

Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, applauded the Stella detectives for working around the clock to gather information which positively linked the accused with the crime and subsequent conviction.  He said further that the sentence will undeniably send a clear message that gender based violence will not be tolerated and that those who carry out such deeds will be shown no mercy