Graveyard killer jailed for 20 years

2011-11-25 22:28

Virginia - Welkom graveyard killer Chane van Heerden will have to spend at least the next 20 years behind bars, the Virginia Circuit Court ruled on Friday.

Free State Judge Albert Kruger declared Van Heerden a dangerous criminal.

He ordered her to return to court in 20 years for the re-evaluation of her case.

The court would decide then, with the help of experts, whether she was fit to be released back into society or needed to remain in jail.


Van Heerden, who sipped water from time to time during the judgment, showed no emotion as she listened to the judge.

After the sentence was passed, she stood up and left the courtroom without a word, despite attempts by journalists to get comment from her.

Kruger ordered that she receive psychotherapy until her next court appearance in 2031.

Van Heerden, 20, was accused of luring Michael van Eck, 23, to the Welkom cemetery where she killed and dismembered him in April, allegedly with her co-accused Maartens van der Merwe.

Their cases were separated earlier on in the trial. The case against Van der Merwe, 24, has been postponed until February. He has yet to enter a plea.

Lack of remorse

Some of Van Eck's remains were found in a shallow grave at the cemetery, while others - including his facial skin, an eye and his ears - were found in the couple's fridge. Other body parts were found in a cupboard and in their garden.

Kruger held that he could find no merit in the mitigating circumstances forwarded by Van Heerden’s defence.

The court held that there was a possibility that she could murder again.

"The theme throughout, in all evidence, was that she would do it again," Kruger said.

He said Van Heerden's lack of remorse was worrying.

  • Jerhone - 2011-11-26 08:02

    is that all? give her more years we want to pay more taxes, this is a government who want to take away or cut social grants because they can't afford it anymore, but are willing to spend billions on keeping murderers and rapist alive for years, it just boggles the mind

  • ludlowdj - 2011-11-26 11:25

    life without option of parole would have been the right sentence for someone like this.

  • CarolynDewrance - 2011-11-26 11:30

    If the death sentence had been reinstated, she should have received it, Now she will walk free by the time she is 40, still young enough to marry some poor other sucker and muder him and maybe any children she has as well. Let her out and let the public take care of this sicko.

      Perfume5 - 2011-11-26 16:56

      Exactly, what about the parents of the boy she murdered, they will never find peace in their lives. She should of been given a double life sentence.

  • velastardust - 2011-11-26 12:31

    What a sick girl. 20 years in not long enough. Unlikely she will ever be normal.

  • Esperanca - 2011-11-26 21:52

    I hope the boys' family finds closure.

      Perfume5 - 2011-11-27 13:52

      It will be very heard for them :)

  • Jade - 2011-11-29 07:59

    wow so a life is only worth 20 years! AND she gets to "convince" the judge after 20 years that shes all of a sudden "normal"....where will/did Michaels mom get a chance to "convince" her not to kill her son?! I say lock them up and throw away the key! they are not worthy of the hype they have caused! My thoughts are with Michaels family! so so tragic!

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