Ex-cop gets stiff sentence for killing wife

2012-01-17 19:05
Pietermaritzburg - Former police dog handler Morné Croeser was jailed for 23 years by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday for murdering his wife Erika.

Croeser, 34, was convicted on Monday of the August 2010 crime in which his wife was stabbed 14 times.

Judge Esther Steyn said Erika's daughters - aged seven and four - had been deprived of her life, hopes, dreams, and expectations.

Erika's family and friends had also been robbed of a sister, daughter, and companion.

Prosecutor Irene Neyt asked that Croeser be jailed for life, saying he had created the situation in which his wife was brutally murdered as she returned home from a pub.

Croeser was volatile, had shown no remorse, and had not taken the court into his confidence.

Neyt argued that it was unlikely he could be rehabilitated.

Defence counsel Murray Pitman said Croeser maintained he was not guilty and that he and his wife were stabbed by an intruder.

Croeser claimed that his hands and arms were cut while trying to fight off the intruder who stabbed him in the stomach and fatally stabbed Erika.

The State contended that he stabbed himself to lend credence to this claim.

During the trial, he claimed that the intruder had acted in reprisal because Erika had officiated in a disciplinary hearing against a worker at the Msinisi Reserve at Albert Falls dam.

Pitman said Croeser had a clean work record with no previous convictions.

He applied for leave to appeal the verdict and sentence, but Steyn refused.

He said a petition would be sent to the chief justice for leave to appeal.

Pitman asked that Croeser's bail be extended until a decision had been reached.

Steyn would not allow this, but said he could apply for bail when the petition was launched.

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