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Mum ‘not ashamed’ of killer son, 20, who strangled ex-girlfriend, 16, then hanged body to make it look like suicide

A MOTHER has said she is not ashamed of her son who killed his ex-girlfriend.

Xander Bylsma, 20, strangled Sharnelle Hough, 16, and hanged her body to make it look like a suicide at a school hostel in May 2018, according to reports.

The corpse of Bylsma’s second cousin, Marna Engelbrecht, 17, was found in a bathroom.

The 20-year-old was given two life sentences for killing the teen girls.

In delivering his sentence on August 15, Judge Robert Hendricks described the killer’s actions as “disgusting” and that he showed no remorse.

His parents Mercia and her ex-husband Monte maintained that their son is not guilty.

“It’s my child. God gave him to me. People look at me strangely when I say this, but I will not change my mind because I’m not ashamed of my child,” Mercia told Rapport newspaper.

Bylsma was 19 when he killed ex-girlfriend Sharnelle and her best friend Marna in 2018 in the South African province of North West.

The pair had reportedly been dating for about a year before splitting up a month before the killings.

He could not accept that Sharnelle had moved on with her life.

Evidence seen by the North West high court earlier this year revealed that Bylsma had sent multiple threatening texts to the girls’ shortly before they were murdered.

On the fateful evening, Bylsma left his group of friends and made his way to the hostel, The South African reports.

The two girls were the only pupils left at the premises as they had planned to go to town the next day.

The court heard how the killer crept into the hostel and knocked the sleeping girls unconscious before strangling them to death.

The hostel’s matron discovered their bodies the next day. Sharnelle was hanging from a bannister and Martha’s body was found in the bathroom, with a backpack rope tied around her neck, according to reports.

Bylsma confessed to inspectors before turning himself in at a police station.

The mother of his ex-girlfriend Sonja Hough reportedly said: “I hate him for what he did to my child, but I don’t harbour the kind of anger of wanting to kill him.”

The parents also plan to appeal the sentence because they want to “see the real culprit in court and also want the murder to be solved”, according to Mercia.

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