Cop loses murder conviction appeal

2014-08-26 21:06


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - A police constable lost an appeal against his conviction in a KwaZulu-Natal court on Tuesday for killing his wife, but got his sentence reduced.

Constable Morne Croeser murdered his wife, Erika, by stabbing her 14 times.

Although he lost his appeal, his 23-year jail sentence was cut to 18 years by three judges in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

Erika, an eco-tourism co-ordinator at Albert Falls dam near Pietermaritzburg, was murdered when she and Morne returned home after leaving a pub at 01:30 in August 2010.

In his trial Morne testified that after parking his car he entered the Croeser home and heard Erika scream.

He saw her bleeding on the laundry floor. An intruder then stabbed him in the abdomen. The attacker fled and Morne fired a shot to call for help.

Trial Judge Esther Steyn found Croeser killed his wife and stabbed himself.

Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel, sitting as an appeal judge, said Morne's wound penetrated the abdominal wall, but avoided internal organs.

It followed the contour of his abdomen between muscle, fat, and skin. There was no corresponding hole in his shirt or jacket.

He was unable to explain how this happened and why there was no blood on the inside of the shirt.

The post mortem doctor described Erika's cause of death as wounds to the neck and chest.

There was no blood on her feet or shoes, indicating she was not attacked while erect.

Erika and Morne were married in May 2001 and divorced in 2003. They had two daughters.

Erika's mother told the court the marriage was not happy as he had extra-marital affairs.

He used to mock her as she was overweight. They remarried in November 2003.

Judges Gregory Kruger and Kate Pillay concurred with Judge Ploos van Amstel.

Reducing the sentencing from 23 to 18 years, Van Amstel said Croeser was a dedicated policeman with an excellent record. He was not a criminal in the ordinary sense of the word. There was a suggestion that he had an anger problem and had undertaken to go for counselling.

When he and his wife were in the pub, the couple appeared to be comfortable together and were sitting close together. In the absence of premeditation, something must have happened which sparked the attack.

This and the large number of stab wounds suggested an explosion of rage, Van Amstel said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.