Judgment handed down for grieving widower's murder

2015-06-26 17:15
Jean-Pierre Malan and Maruschka Robinson in court. (News24)

Jean-Pierre Malan and Maruschka Robinson in court. (News24)

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Johannesburg - Jean-Pierre Malan and his ex-girlfriend Maruschka Robinson were on Friday found guilty of defrauding and robbing grieving widower Dustan Blom in 2013, with Malan also found guilty of his murder and Robinson of being an accessory.

Blom was murdered on September 18 2013 and his body found in his car boot in the Montecasino parking lot in Fourways three days' later after a security guard wondered about the bad smell emanating from the boot.

The two were later arrested and Judge Delize Smith's judgment in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, sitting as the High Court of Johannesburg, recalled evidence of how Robinson, a former stripper, gained Blom's trust as he drowned his sorrows at strip clubs, bars and restaurants after his wife had died in childbirth and left him with a large amount of money.

Smith said the evidence had shown Blom had no regard for money, spending as much as R50 000 at a restaurant over two days and did not seem to notice what they were up to. He trusted Robinson and was even going to put R10 000 towards a car for her.

Their modus operandi, based on the multitude of SMSes retrieved by the investigating officer, was to spike Blom's drink from a ''party pack'' of drugs, including central nervous system depressant ''G" or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate. Robinson would then stay with Blom to ensure he did not wake up, while Malan withdrew his money.

Messaged each other constantly

They messaged each other constantly throughout the operation - to check Blom was still knocked out or check the money had been withdrawn and the bank's withdrawal notification had been deleted from his cellphone.

Malan and Robinson had pleaded not guilty to killing Blom and not guilty to charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Robinson pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud for using Blom's bank card to draw money, but pleaded not guilty to attempting to defeat the ends of justice by leaving his body in his car at Montecasino.

Malan pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and five counts of being in possession of fake ID documents.

Smith said between August 24 and 30 2013, they withdrew R60 000 without Blom knowing, but things changed when they heard he was going overseas for two weeks. They wanted to get more money to tide themselves over while he was away. 

''The goose laying the golden egg is indeed now flying off for two weeks,'' said Smith.

Robinson was going to look after Blom's house and it was clear she was trusted. She even volunteered to join the search party when friends and family started worrying about him.

Smith had to decide who had killed Blom after Malan and Robinson blamed each other.

It was found to be common cause that Blom would not have consented to either of them taking his card to drawi such large amounts of money, so they had to concoct a plan.

One of the main deciding factors for Smith was how different the SMSes between Malan and Robinson were from the August withdrawals to September.

Malan got greedy

In August, the SMSes showed constant communication such as: ''Did it accept the code (from Robinson to Malan) and ''Watch the phone'' from (Malan to Robinson) who was waiting to delete the bank's withdrawal notification message.

On one occasion Malan got greedy, asking if he should draw another ''10'' (thousand rand), while Robinson fretted over whether the drug would knock Blom out for long enough.

It was clear from this evidence that they were in constant contact, recording step-by-step what they were doing, destroying evidence of the transactions and putting the phone back with Blom.

However, on September 18, the ''cellphone reporting'' changed to the point of being ''sparse''. One SMS expressed the fear Blom might call the police.

They had not counted on him not drinking the bottle of wine they had spiked and because his alcohol level was a low 0.06, compared to his normal excessive drinking, things changed.

'Large pool of blood on the floor'

Malan had claimed he had tried to put Blom into a ''sleeper hold" when he started waking up from the couch where he had been lying down, but Smith said evidence showed signs of a fight with a large pool of blood on the floor.

Smith also noted between September 1 and the day of Blom's death, Malan and Robinson had never spent as long as the 222 seconds - nearly four minutes - on the phone, but on September 18 they spoke for nearly four minutes.

''Why now on this day?" asked Smith.

The evidence showed they would have been able to take at least R30 000 out of Blom's account and this confirmed Robinson's evidence that there was a clear plan to get money out of Blom's account again.

Smith noted Malan did not draw money straight away, but went back to his house, saying his car had overheated. There was an ATM and garage near his house and he could have withdrawn the money there and fetched water to cool his car with those facilities.

''There was no rush to withdraw money,'' said Smith.

The only inference the court could draw was they already knew Blom was dead. 

Robinson helped move the body

She found Malan intended to kill Blom, but she could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a ''meeting of minds'' on the murder charge.

However, Robinson did help clean up the blood and move his body, making her an accessory after the fact.

''It is clear the definition of accessory after the fact is: someone who, after a crime, unlawfully or intentionally associated themselves with the commission of a crime by helping the perpetrator of accomplice.''

Robinson had initially testified she was afraid of Blom, but she assisted ''freely and voluntarily'' to put his body in the boot, clean up the scene and had no objection to where he left the body.

Smith also rejected Robinson's testimony she used drugs the day before which may have affected her actions, because ''all her actions show she had full control over her decisions''.

They were also found guilty of fraud for using Blom's card when they bought pizzas in Olivedale and cellphones and other items at Dion Wired, in addition to the money they took from his account.

Robinson was acquitted on defeating the ends of justice, because it would have been the same as the accessory count.

The pair showed little emotion when they shuffled out of court to wait for sentencing preparations on August 18.

Only Malan got a quick hug from a relative before he left.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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