Jealous father who killed his two children sentenced to 28 years
Petros Williams strangled children with internet cables as a message to estranged wife who had used online dating sites
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 30 March 2010 14.45 BST
Petros Williams was jailed for 28 years. Photograph: Greater Manchester Police/PA
A jealous father who strangled his two children to death to get revenge on his estranged wife was jailed today for a minimum of 28 years.
Petros Williams, 37, killed his four-year-old daughter, Yolanda, and two-year-old son, Theo, in October last year at their home in Manchester. He throttled them in their sleep with internet connection cables, a method chosen as a message to his wife, who had been using online dating sites. He denied murder.
Sentencing him at Manchester crown court, the trial judge, Mr Justice Parker, said it was "hard to conceive any more shocking crime".
In the days before the murders, Williams made a farewell video in which he told the children to face the camera and say: "We will miss you, Mummy." He was furious that his estranged wife, Morongoe Molemohi, 30, had begun seeing men whom she met using dating websites.
A jury found Williams guilty of both murders after 90 minutes of deliberation.
During the five-day trial Williams claimed his wife carried out the killings.
Passing sentence, Parker told him: "There is no doubt that you intended to kill them. It is hard to conceive any more shocking crime than a parent deliberately taking the life of his or her child.
"We saw from the video that Yolanda and Theo were happy children, full of love and laughter, with a whole lifetime ahead of them and, above all, absolute trust in their father who, for entirely selfish purposes, would end their brief lives.
"You remain in denial. You have simply refused to come to terms with the enormity of your deeds." He told him he had shown "not an ounce of remorse" adding: "Your pity has been exclusively reserved for yourself."
The prosecution said the internet cables were used as a symbolic act of punishment to his wife. It was described as "a spiteful, selfish reaction to the breakdown of his marriage".
The couple moved from their native Zimbabwe to the UK in 2002 and had lived in Manchester for five years but their marriage suffered difficulties and both had affairs, the jury was told.
The video was among several notes found at his flat in Whalley Range, Manchester. It was labelled: "Daddy, Yolly, Theo. Byee The End", with a note attached which that read: "Play the video, made for your memories, thank you, Petros." It shows the children in the living room, with Williams asking them: "Where’s Mummy?"
On the day of the murders, Molemohi received a silent call from her estranged husband. She found Williams lying on the double bed with the children and initially thought they were asleep, but realised her son and daughter were not breathing. Williams was lying next to them dazed, but uninjured, next to a noose. She dialled 999 and tried to resuscitate them, but it was too late. Postmortem examinations showed both had been strangled.
Their father was arrested and collapsed when he was taken into custody.
Senior investigator Vinny Chadwick of Greater Manchester police described Williams as "a cruel man who took the lives of two beautiful children".
He said: "He sought to control his wife and when she would not submit, he took away those she loved most." Chadwick said he continued throughout the trial making false allegations about Morongoe and refusing to accept responsibility for his actions.
He added: "He will now have a long time to reflect on what he has done and hopefully feel some of the hurt he has done to others."
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