The former teacher who orchestrated the kidnapping of a six-year-old girl in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, has pleaded guilty along with her three accomplices on Thursday 17 September, and is now set to spend 10 years behind bars.

Tharina Human, the ringleader of the group, was swiftly sentenced to 10 years behind bars for kidnapping and attempted extortion, with her co-accused also landing hefty sentences at the High Court in Palm Ridge.

The court heard on Thursday how 28-year-old Human “masterminded” the abduction in a bid to try and extort the young girl’s parents – with whom she was acquainted – of R2 million. She said that she wanted to use the money to get herself out of financial difficulties, specifically to pay off drug dealers to whom she was in debt.

The girl was snatched from her parents outside the gates of the Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark and quickly driven away in a white Toyota Fortuner.

On the day of the distressing abduction, police scoured the area and its surrounds for the young girl during an intelligence driven operation, and thankfully she was later found by a couple returning home from a nearby pub. She walking alone on the side of the road shortly before midnight, scared but unharmed.

Human and her accomplices were arrested shortly after the incident.

Human was sentenced to 15 years, with five years suspended. Accused two, 40-year-old Leticia Nel has been sentenced to eight years with three years suspended.

Accused number three, 50-year-old Peiter Van Zyl, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, with five years suspended.

The fourth accused, Bafokeng Molemohi, has also pleaded guilty to his role in the kidnapping, and was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment of which five years are suspended, as well as five years imprisonment which will run concurrently with his first sentence. He will effectively serve seven years behind bars.

Human’s lawyer David Mey said that his client is “truly sorry” for what she did and realises that her actions would prevent her from seeing her own young daughter grow up. her daughter, as it happens, was also considered by the group as a possible target for their kidnapping scheme, to be used to extract ransom money from Human’s father and brother.

The family of the young girl experienced severe trauma after the incident. The mother’s relationship with Human created a rift between her and her husband, and the girl’s brother struggled to come to terms with the fact that his teacher was behind the kidnapping.

The girl herself has had difficulty sleeping and is traumatised by the event.

Her parents were both in attendance on Thursday as the kidnappers faced the music.

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