Killer dad murdered sex worker

2007-08-09 01:21

Pretoria - "It's ridiculous! I didn't do it, but I'm up against overwhelming odds."

Convicted murderer and former Air Force sergeant Flippie Venter was very emotional on Wednesday after being found guilty of murdering a 14-year-old Burundi sex worker.

Venter shot and killed his two children Janco, 4, and Millize, 5, and wounded his wife Millie in a family quarrel in April last year.

He alleged at the time that tension arising from the Burundi affair, which had been dragging on since September 2004, had contributed to the shooting.

'Somebody had to be sacrificed'

Venter is currently serving ten years after being found guilty of murdering his children.

"We all know that there was foreign and diplomatic involvement in the (Burundi)case. Somebody had to be sacrificed and unfortunately that someone was me.

"I've lost my wife and children - everything, and all because of something that I didn't do," a crying Venter, a former Air Force sergeant at Hoedspruit air base, told Beeld outside the court.

He says he'll "fight his fingers to the bone " until a higher court reaches a different verdict.

Three colonels, Johan Crouse (presiding judge), Michael Venter and Yvonne Nomoyi on Wednesday unanimously found Venter guilty of three of the five charges against him.

With the strains of the funeral march drifting into the court from a nearby parade ground, where a funeral dress rehearsal was underway, an expressionless Venter was pronounced guilty of murder, going AWOL in Burundi, and assaulting a Burundi security guard.

He was found not guilty of rape and defeating the ends of justice.

Venter denied guilt

Venter is become the first South African peacekeeper to be found guilty of killing a citizen of the host country, and He could receive a life sentence for the murder.

Venter denied guilt on all five charges in the Burundi case, despite having confessed to two during the investigation.

He denied having made the confessions during the trial.

Delivering his 70-plus page verdict, Crouse said it was significant that shortly after Nkeshimana's murder, various colleagues and other witnesses had seen scratch marks on Venter's face and body.

Venter had attributed this to being scratched by branches while returning to his guard post on the night of the incident.

"There were, however, no scratch marks on his hands or arms."

Crouse said a considerable part of the onus of proof had depended on the testimony of Claude Demacéne, a taxidriver who had conveyed the girl and Venter on that night.

According to Demacéne's testimony Venter, a VIP guard in the Burundi peacekeeping force, had told him on the night of September 19 2004 that he wanted to have sex.

Body discovered the next day

Demacéne took him to a hotel, where he had made contact with Nkeshimana.

The three left the hotel to find a cheap room, but Demacéne's car got stuck in a ditch.

According to Demacéne Venter and the girl had left and her body was discovered the following day, close to the route to Venter's guard post.

Venter had said in his confessions that he and Nkeshimana had had sex, "but then she didn't want any more and I strangled her".

The court dismissed Venter's version of the events.

The case has been postponed to August 27, pending a probationary officer report.