Cape Town doctor's killer gets life in jail

2015-05-28 12:40
Dalene Heyns and her daughter (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Dalene Heyns and her daughter (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - A Cape Town man was sentenced to life in jail on Thursday for robbing and killing Tygerberg Hospital paediatrician Louis Heyns two years ago.

Marthinus van der Walt, 35, showed no emotion as Western Cape High Court Judge Andre le Grange handed down a life sentence for the murder and 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, which are to run concurrently.

“It seems you cannot be rehabilitated,” the judge said in courtroom four, with Heyns's family looking down on Van der Walt from the public gallery.

“… You are inherently criminal in nature and also a definite danger to the community. Your expulsion from the community is essential,” Le Grange said.

Van der Walt was handcuffed and raised his eyebrows briefly at his lawyer Gert Fourie when being led back down to the holding cells.

Crime not planned

Fourie replied with “voorspoed” [good luck] and nodded his head quickly in acknowledgement.

The defence had asked the court, in considering an appropriate sentence, to keep in mind that the crime was not planned, he spent almost two years in custody awaiting trial, he had no previous convictions for violent crime and he had acted under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Le Grange said the only factor that could be considered was that he had spent time in custody, but this was not enough to allow a deviation from the minimum sentence.

“Of course grace, which characterises an orderly society, plays a role when weighing up a sentence.”

However, even though Van der Walt had expressed remorse for his actions, it was not enough to dilute the brutality of the crime, the judge said.

Heyns’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Strand eight days after he had been reported missing, in May 2013. He had been kicked and beaten to death.

‘He said I couldn’t get an erection’

Van der Walt claimed he had not intended to kill Heyns. He testified he attacked Heyns after he allegedly insulted him for not being able to get an erection.

He then stole the doctor’s cellphone and car and fled the scene.

Both Heyns's widow Dalene and brother Christo Heyns testified that the victim had never been involved in extramarital affairs and had never shown any sexual interest in men.

Sarel van der Walt, Marthinus’s brother, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder and theft. He reached a plea bargain agreement with the State last year.

A third suspect, Malmesbury businessman and scrap yard owner, Juan Liedeman, pleaded guilty to a charge of not having reasonable cause to believe the stolen car, a Peugeot 308, was properly acquired.

He also entered a plea bargain and sentencing agreement and was handed a R10 000 fine or five years behind bars. Half the fine and sentence were reportedly suspended for five years.

Read more on:    louis heyns  |  cape town  |  crime

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