Three sentenced to life in prison for killing infant

A woman charged with hiring a hit squad to murder her lover's baby daughter will spend the rest of her life in jail.

Dina Rodrigues was last month found guilty of murder for orchestrating the June 2005 killing of 6-month-old Jordan-Leigh Norton, her then-boyfriend's child from a previous relationship.

The sentencing in Cape Town's High Court brings an end to the saga of South Africa's first known contract killing of an infant, a case that has captured headlines for months.

Judge Basheer Waglay said the court had no choice but to impose the harshest penalty on the woman who recruited children and the poor for the crime, SABC News reported.

Two of the men Rodrigues hired for US$,1500 to carry out the killing, Sipho Mongezi Mfazwe and Mongezi Bobotyane, also received life sentences plus 10 years for armed robbery.

Two others involved who were under 18 at the time of the crime - Zanethemba Gwada and Bonginkosi Sigenu - were each sentenced to 15 years in prison, the South African Press Association reported. Both are now adults and will serve their time in adult prisons.

The packed gallery rang with applause as the sentences were read out, according to SAPA.

The case has riveted South Africa, where an estimated 1,100 children are killed each year, in part because both the baby and Rodrigues were white and from privileged backgrounds. Most cases involving violence against children involve black and underprivileged defendants and victims.

Cases such as Jordan's have led to recent campaigns drawing attention to the problem of violence against children.