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A Mamelodi man accused of strangling his wife and two young children claims he was wrestling with a snake when he attacked his wife."When I explained to him that this person I was with changed into a figure like a snake and that I tried to fight with this snake... he stopped me," Evans Mpanyane, 33, told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
He was giving evidence about his discussion with the police captain who interviewed him after his arrest. This formed part of proceedings to determine the admissibility of certain statements he made to the police after his arrest.
Referring to the police captain, he said: "Also when I told him I suspected this has got to do with witchcraft he stopped me. He said witchcraft has got nothing to do with the law. I then took his advice."
Mpanyane has denied guilt on charges of murdering his wife of 14 years Connie and their daughters Priscilla, 6, and Joy, 7, near Kameeldrift, Pretoria North, on 16 December 2011.
Connie's body, clad only in her underwear, was found under a tree in the veld with what appeared to be suicide notes tucked into the back of her bra.
A police handwriting expert testified on Wednesday that Mpanyane wrote the rambling notes, in which he mostly asked God for forgiveness.
The children's bodies were found in the back of their father's car. All three had been strangled.
Mpanyane claimed on Thursday that the captain who first interviewed him warned him he would be assaulted if he did not make a statement.
"I told him I would co-operate because of was afraid of being assaulted. I told him what happened at the scene while I was with the deceased. I tried to explain to him, but he did not accept some of the things I told him.
"During this discussion he told me there will be a day that I will be taken to the place where the crime was committed. I didn't think I had a choice to deny or not to agree with his instructions," he said.
The trial continues.