OVERJOYED: Cindy Woodward, centre, her mom Jennifer, with State prosecutor and supporters outside High Court
Two men convicted of killing a six-month-old baby each received life sentences in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Judge Robert Henney gave a third accused, the 61-year-old mother of one of the men, a suspended sentence, saying she is only escaping jail time because the mother and ouma of baby Zahnia Woodward have forgiven her.

Mirriam Johnson received a suspended five-year sentence for attempting to defeat the ends of justice, while her son, Larry, and Christopher September got life in prison.

The court gallery was packed with supporters for both Zahnia’s family and the accused.

Among them were former suspects Tashwill Kriel and Morne May, both of whom were acquitted by Henney last week.

At the start of the trial, accused six, Simone Kindo, entered into a plea and sentencing agreement and was given a four-year sentence for obstructing justice after she tried to hide the drive-by car.

Henney slammed September and Johnson for showing no remorse and trying to evade responsibility for their actions which resulted in the death of a defenceless child.

“Their conduct was indeed heartless and evil. It is clear that this was a planned assassination in the form of a so-called drive-by shooting,” Henney said.

“Their conduct was cold-blooded, callous and one of the worst acts of cowardice.”

On 30 December 2016, a bullet hit Zahnia in the head as men in a white VW Golf opened fire on her father Bradley Robyn and five of his friends in Carnation Road, Ocean View.

She was the only fatality.

Judge Henney said the hit was gang-related and the men knew the baby was on the scene, but went ahead with the shooting anyway.

“From the evidence of Bradley, it was clear that September was seen driving around with that car about 3 or 4 times before the shooting, and he was driving past them. Bradley was sitting since 11am with the deceased on his lap,” the judge said.

He sentenced September and Johnson to life imprisonment for the murder of Zahnia, and 10 years for each of the attempted murders of Bradley, Abdulkader Fortune, Abdullah Abrahams, Cedric Dayeni and Shaneeka Jansen, and seven years for the attempted murder of Bradley’s dad, Peter Robyn.

They also received five years for the unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, while Larry got four years extra for attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

The sentences will run concurrently.

“Had it not been for the personal circumstances of accused 5 (Mirriam) I would have had no hesitation to send her to prison. Under the circumstances, I will spare her that ordeal. This was also the wish expressed by both the mother and grandmother of the deceased,” Henney said.

Outside court, a relieved Cindy said she was pleased with the outcome. “It’s over, it’s finally over. They have paid for what they did to my child and she can now rest in peace.

“I am grateful to the prosecutor who fought for my child and the detective who worked tirelessly.

“My baby can rest now,” Cindy said, smiling broadly.

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