Caretaker ‘wanted to kill teacher’

2011-06-21 14:54

Pretoria school caretaker Gerhard Sippel took a hammer and rope to his lover’s house to kill her, the State argued today.

State Prosecutor Christo Roberts asked the Pretoria High Court to find the April 2009 murder of 28-year-old teacher Ina Halfter had been premeditated.

Judge Tshifiwa Maumela last month found the 50-year-old Sippel, who was a caretaker at the German School in Pretoria, guilty of the murder.

Sippel, throughout his trial, had insisted he waited outside Halfter’s flat in the East of Pretoria that day, but left without seeing her because he wanted to commit suicide.

He said he was devastated when Halfter broke up with him because she had reconciled with her ex-boyfriend in Germany, and thought she might be pregnant with the man’s child.

The blonde teacher’s bloodied body was discovered in her flat when she failed to turn up at school.

Her skull had been smashed with a rubber mallet and a rope had been wound around her neck three times.

Nothing was missing from the flat and the door was still locked.

Sippel’s lawyer Marisa Barnard argued there was no evidence the murder had been premeditated.

It was a “crime of passion” and Sippel had diminished responsibility for his actions because he suffered from a major depressive disorder.

Roberts said Sippel had the intention to kill Halfter and fled from the scene because he did not want to be prosecuted.

He said Sippel had used a great deal of violence during the attack.

There was not even the slightest possibility Halfter could have survived.

An aggravating factor was that Halfter was defenceless and attacked in the sanctity of her own home.

According to Roberts, Sippel’s complete denial was indicative of a complete lack of remorse.

He said Sippel should be sent to jail for between 15 and 22 years.

Barnard argued that eight to 10 years imprisonment would be more appropriate.

Maumela postponed the trial to July 20 for sentencing.

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