News24

Pretoria man guilty of brutal murder

2012-05-18 08:43

Pretoria - A Dennilton man who was part of the gang that murdered a retired scientist in his Garsfontein home five years ago was convicted on Thursday.

The North Gauteng High Court found that Abel Magopa, 38, killed 61-year-old Professor Bill van der Riet and stole a suitcase with clothes, coins and a DVD player.

A member of the Community Policing Forum found Van der Riet's body after his gardener raised the alarm when he could not gain access to the property.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius described the manner in which the retired CSIR microbiologist was found as "rather sad".

"I don't think any of us would want to be found in that position," she said.

Palm print

Van der Riet was found tied up and half naked with a dishcloth wrapped around his neck.

Magopa's index fingerprint was found on a newspaper advertisement and his palm print on a pamphlet next to the body in the locked house.

The suitcase was found outside in a flower bed near the entrance gate.

Magopa admitted that his fingerprints were found at the scene, but denied any involvement in the murder.

He explained that he was a car guard at the Willows Centre and that some of the regular clients had trusted him enough to let him read their newspapers while they were shopping inside.

Pretorius said Magopa's evidence was improbable and she did not believe his elaborate story of how his fingerprints ended up at the scene.

‘Humiliated, murdered in horrendous way’

He told a policeman he worked at a pub, yet told the court he had worked as a car guard.

She said Van der Riet had been humiliated and murdered in a horrendous way.
There was a possibility that others might also have been involved.

Prosecutor Salome Scheepers asked for a life sentence.

She said it was severely aggravating that Van der Riet had been an elderly person who was attacked in his own home.

"We live in jails just to protect ourselves. It should not be like that," she said.

The defence contended that the murder was not premeditated, as the robbers could have taken along a firearm if they intended killing their victim.

Pretorius will sentence Magopa on May 22.

Comments
  • Saamprater - 2012-05-18 09:09

    All attacks are pre-meditated, especially if commited by people inflamed by the cANCer's racism that all whites don't belong in South Africa or Africe for that matter. Every robery, no matter the circumstances must have an automatic 25 year life sentence attachedto it. murder and rape, a 100 years without the option of parole, ever. That is, till we get a sane government in place who can stand for some normality and sensibility

      John - 2012-05-18 10:17

      DEATH PENALTY?!

  • Gee - 2012-05-18 09:40

    Why should our tax money be used to feed and support this murderer while in jail? These people should be taken outside the courtroom after a guilty verdict and shot. No mess, no fuss. Short and sweet. If you take a life you don't deserve to live!

  • Msika - 2012-05-18 10:14

    Thanks to forensic science, this murderer wouldn't have been brought to book. Now lock him in a dark place, and trow away the key.

  • derk.woldendorp - 2012-05-18 10:27

    took 5 years this case what a joke our wheels of justice are square

  • Brett - 2012-05-18 10:38

    These cowardly parasites never committ their atrocious crimes on their own. This vermin should be tortured until he gives up the names of his accomplices.

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