Crime stats no comfort for victim’s family

2012-09-22 12:00

Violent crime against adult women dropped significantly across South Africa over the past year.

But that news, revealed during the release of crime statistics this week, would have been cold comfort for the family of 38-year-old Mieta Louw.

Last year, Arrie Oerson was released on parole after serving six years for culpable homicide after murdering his wife with a hammer in 2005.

This week, Oerson was back behind bars – because he allegedly murdered Louw, his girlfriend, with a pick handle in front of two of her children.

Louw’s family says she had been to the police station twice the day before she died – to complain about Oerson.

In releasing its crime statistics this week, the SA Police Service revealed that “contact crime” – including murder – was usually precipitated by arguments or conflicts about “money, family, sexual relationships and work situations”.

The couple’s neighbours in Bloemfontein’s Heidedal suburb say they often heard Oerson and Louw arguing.

Louw had four children, the youngest of whom, fathered by Oerson, is just three months old.

Free State police spokeswoman Captain Rulene Kühn said the murder happened around 6am on Sunday.

“An argument started and the suspect (allegedly) killed the deceased with a pick handle,” Kühn explained.

Louw’s sister Sienna Plaatjie told City Press: “My sister first knocked on my door on Saturday afternoon.

“She said she was coming from the police station to ask for help.”

Her sister had gone to the police twice on Saturday to complain about Oerson, Plaatjie said.

Plaatjie said she had warned her sister after Oerson several times because everyone knew he had killed his wife.

But Louw believed “that he can change”, Plaatjie said.

On Sunday morning, a neighbour came over and told Plaatjie she needed to check on her sister.

She was greeted by a gruesome sight.

“I saw the blood on her head and tried to wake her up. I called her name several times, but she did not respond. When I felt her stomach, it was ice cold and I knew my sister is dead,” she wept.

Two of her nephews witnessed the murder.

As soon as Louw’s body was removed, neighbours told City Press, some of Oerson’s relatives dismantled the shack in which the murder happened.

Oerson’s family is also shattered.

One of his relatives, who asked not to be identified, said her “heart is tired because of this thing”.

The woman revealed that she had approached Oerson’s parole officer last year because she was worried about his behaviour.

“I told him Oerson is not rehabilitated and that he should go back to jail, but the officer said Oerson will be rehabilitated.”

Oerson had been fulfilling his parole conditions to start with, the relative said, but then he started drinking alcohol.

“Substance abuse and use” were identified by the police as often leading to contact crime.

Oerson arrived at his relative’s house very early on Sunday morning, carrying the couple’s four-month-old baby.

“I was surprised at first because although he stayed just around the corner we have not been seeing and talking to each other.”

She didn’t suspect anything was wrong.

“I know him when he did something wrong, but he was just quiet and said he is bringing the baby because the mother (Mieta) was drunk.”

Kühn said that hours after the murder, Oerson handed himself over to officers at the Heidedal police station – the same place his alleged victim had gone for help on Saturday.

Kühn said there was no record of any complaint laid at 10pm on Saturday. Two hours later, a complaint was attended to at 92 Brooks Avenue, a few houses away from Oerson and Louw’s home at number 51.

Nobody was available at number 92, Kühn said, and this fact was documented.

“The family of the deceased is more than welcome to request a formal investigation with the station commander of Heidedal SAPS in order to clarify the matter,” she said.

Violence against women drops.

There is a page in the police’s report on the April 2011 to March 2012 crime statistics titled “Female adult victims: selected reported contact crime figures”.

It reveals that 2 286 women aged 18 or older were murdered during the period under review. That’s an 11.9% drop from the previous review period.

Overall, adult women account for 14.6% of the country’s 15 609 murders between April 2011 and March 2012.

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