Blom murdered out of greed - judge

2015-08-20 19:45
Dustan Blom and his wife Talita Bloem (Supplied)

Dustan Blom and his wife Talita Bloem (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The murder of Dustan Blom was committed so the two people responsible for his death could fulfil their greed.

Judge Delize Smith, handing down sentence to JP Malan and Maruschka Robinson in the High Court in Johannesburg sitting in Palm Ridge, described Blom's murder as "horrendous".

The front row of the public gallery was filled with Blom's friends and family.

"The robbery was planned and well executed," Smith said.

Malan, convicted of strangling Blom, was sentenced to life in prison.

He was sentenced to an additional 10 years for the obstruction of justice, seven years on four counts of fraud with three of those years running concurrently, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and 18 months each, running concurrently, for five counts of identity theft.

Robinson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being an accessory to murder after the fact and given the same sentences as Malan for the counts of fraud and the count of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Blom's body was found in the boot of his car on September 22 2013 in the parking lot of the Montecasino entertainment complex in Fourways. He had been killed days before and his body was discovered only when security guards noticed a foul smell coming from the car.

'Paid lip service to remorse'

Both Malan and Robinson's counsel argued that their clients had expressed remorse, but Smith felt both of them "only paid lip service to remorse".

Smith said the accused could have played open cards with the court from the beginning.

Referring to Robinson's counsel's claim she had cooperated with the police, Smith said Robinson had originally lied about being in Durban at the time of Blom's murder. It was only when she was confronted with CCTV footage of her being at Montecasino that she changed her version.

"What is the action of [Malan]? He knows that there is a life imprisonment sentence as a possibility hanging over his head and that of [Robinson]," Smith said as Malan looked down and Robinson looked straight ahead in the dock.

"He tries to put the blame on [Robinson] by saying she's the one who killed the deceased.

"He indicates that he has been rehabilitated since being incarcerated, but it's only after his conviction and after he testified... that he decides to change his version. [Malan] and [Robinson], but especially [Malan] does not take the stand to tell what his remorse is."

'The callousness clearly speaks for itself'

Furthermore, Malan pleaded guilty to certain charges only when it was clear there was no way out for him, said Smith.

"It was further argued that [Robinson] was manipulated by [Malan], that he was the leader, but without [Robinson], [Malan] would not have had access to Blom and his account," Smith said.

"It might have been she may have been emotionally bound to [Malan], but it was clear from her own evidence that she regarded him as a friend with fringe benefits. The court cannot find her own will so depleted that she was not functioning normally."

Smith said the aggravating circumstances in the case far outweighed the mitigating circumstances.

"It will not be tolerated to steal from the dead. The same can be said by the attempt to defeat the ends of justice regarding [Malan]," she said.

"Further, the callousness clearly speaks for itself. He [Malan] discards a body in a parking area, leaves the body there for days and does not alert anybody that the body is there."

The manner in which the body was left meant it decomposed and, upon its discovery, left Blom's family and friends with a lasting memory of what they saw, said Smith.

"The three children of Mr Blom, especially the eldest son, will have to live with the knowledge that their father had been murdered in this manner," Smith said.

'We're just glad it's finally over'

After sentencing, Blom's sister Julie Padgett, who had come from the United Kingdom to attend the trial in its entirety, said she was satisfied with the sentences.

"We are pleased and we're just glad it's finally over. That's what we were hoping for," she said outside the courtroom.

Blom's best friend Ryan Pickford, while happy with the sentences, was disappointed Malan did not have the courage to take the stand and tell the truth.

"He changed his story too and he gets a social worker to deliver that message to the court and to us as friends and family," he said.

"When I make a plea to him to take the stand, to set himself free, to set us all free... [and to] at least share with us what happened... I'm a bit disappointed that he didn't do that."

Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl, who with Steven Rubin argued the case on behalf of the State, said Malan and Robinson's conviction was a monument to caring friends and neighbours, who helped solve the case.

"I think it also shows the kind of expertise we still have available forensically. Not only in the police, but also wider. Those guys from the casino and so on," he said.

"We went right through from a footprint to the SMSes that had been deleted and downloaded. I think it warns the public about the severity and wide range of identity theft and the dangers lurking around that.

"Lastly, I think it's also a little monument here for a young police constable that ran his legs off and for more than a year investigating this case to the bone and to success, Constable Mthembu from Douglasdale."

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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