2 July 1989 – Sandra Smith

Sandra SmithThe last woman to be hanged in South Africa went to the gallows on this day 1989.

Sandra Smith was married with kids when she started an affair with the roguish Yassiem Harris, a move that would ultimately lead to her death at the hands of the hangman.

When her husband found out about her new lover she was thrown out and forced to turn to crime with her new beau to make ends meet. When petty theft failed to make them any real money they decided to up the stakes and cash in on a friendship Harris had struck up with schoolgirl Jermaine Abrahams, the daughter of a wealthy Cape Town couple.

They visited the Abrahams’ residence when they knew the parents were at work, tied up the young girl and set about robbing the house. However, when someone knocked at the door and Jermaine called out for help Harris dashed to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and stabbed her repeatedly to keep her quiet.

Wracked with guilt

Although they did make off with the jewellery and cash they’d gone for it would never be enjoyed. Smith quickly broke down and confessed while being questioned by the police about an earlier scam and both she and Harris were arrested for the murder.

When she was sentenced to death she became hysterical and had to be carried kicking and screaming from the dock but it was all to no avail as she was hanged alongside Harris and five other men on the morning of 2 July 1989, aged just 22.

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