State seeks life sentence for Cape doctor's murderer

2015-05-26 18:47
Dr. Louis Heyns

Dr. Louis Heyns

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Cape Town - The State has asked the court to impose a life sentence on Marthinus van der Walt for the murder of Tygerberg Hospital paediatrician, Dr Louis Heyns.

Prosecutor Samantha Raphaels recommended to Judge Andre le Grange that Van der Walt be imprisoned for 25 years for the murder of the Welgemoed academic, and 15 years for the robbery in which Heyns’ car and cellphone were stolen.

Van der Walt’s lawyer, Gert Fourie, requested a 25-year sentence suspended for five years, to run concurrently with the robbery sentence.

In the aggravating arguments for sentencing, Heyns’s daughter Eldale Swart told the court she and her siblings had lost a “wonderful dad”.

“His death leaves an unbelievable void in our lives,” she said tearfully.

“My father was my role model and my rock. He had a great sense of humour and a passion for helping others.

“My mother was looking forward to a future with her husband. But that plan has been taken away from her.”

'He was filled with so much joy and happiness'

Six months before he was reported missing, he walked his daughter down the aisle.

“He was filled with so much joy and happiness,” she said.

One of her wedding photos was later used when he was registered as a missing person.

Fourie asked her if the emotions she was feeling would not be the same if he had died of natural causes.

“No,” she replied. “What he went through was unnatural and traumatic.”

Dr Sharon Kling, who worked with Heyns at Tygerberg Hospital, said the doctor always went the extra mile for his little patients and possessed “legendary skills”.

“He was the most amazing and caring person who was loved by the staff, patients and students he worked with. To me he was a friend, colleague and mentor,” an emotional Kling told the court.

'The family needs to move on'

Fourie asked the judge to consider that his client has been behind bars for the past two years.

He further argued that the murder had not been planned and that it was an altercation that had ensued after Van der Walt had been provoked.

Alcohol and drugs had also affected his behaviour that day, Fourie said.

Raphaels confirmed that Van der Walt had been found guilty of a string of property related crimes in the past.

He had been on parole for six months at the time of Heyns’s murder.

The family’s spokesperson Andre Mouton told News24 that Tuesday’s judgment was a “bittersweet victory”.

“We can just hope for a proper [sentence]. The family needs to move on. This is part of their closure,” he said.

Read more on:    louis heyns  |  stellenbosch  |  crime

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