Pretoria killer was not violent - psychologist

2013-11-18 23:08
Jermaine Marbles (Picture: Beeld)

Jermaine Marbles (Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria - An Eersterust man who raped and murdered a neighbour and hid her half-naked body under his bed was not a violent man, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

"From the information available to me it appears that Jermaine [Marbles] was not a violent person, he was well liked and... the crimes were out of character," clinical psychologist Suzette Heath testified.

"He did not show prominent anti-social behaviour. It is possible that while under the influence of drugs Jermaine lost control and could not tolerate any resistance and also could not remember what happened."

Acting Judge Johan Kruger earlier this year found Marbles guilty of raping and murdering Novinia Groom, 18, at his grandmother's house in August 2011. He was also convicted of raping and attempting to murder another young Eersterust woman in July 2010.

Police found Groom's body, dressed only in a T-shirt with a sock stuffed in her mouth, under Marbles's bed after Groom's mother Valery insisted on searching his room.

Marbles was out on bail after being arrested for the first rape when he attacked Groom. The victim said Marbles attacked her in the early hours of the morning while she was walking home, choked her until she passed out, and violently raped her.

Marbles was linked to both crime scenes through DNA evidence but claimed he had consensual sex with both women.

Cruel and violent

Kruger described the attack on the two small, frail young victims as inhumanely cruel and violent and said the first victim was lucky to survive.

Heath testified that Marbles, 32, had been raised by his grandparents because his father never had a job and his mother abandoned him.

He was "slow" at school, but was good with his hands and managed to find a job as a welder, building a home for his wife and their newborn son. He, however, started to use drugs when his wife spent most of her time with their sick baby in hospital.

He briefly rehabilitated, but then his then 3-year-old son nearly drowned in a swimming pool. He started using again after the child came home from hospital with severe brain damage. He could not accept it when the boy died in 2009.

His divorce in 2010 and holding his dying brother in his arms after a stabbing during a street altercation in 2011 also affected him severely.

Depressive personality

Heath said Marbles had a depressive personality, felt inadequate and there was a strong possibility that he had seriously contemplated suicide.

Marbles admitted he had a drug problem for which he needed treatment, but there was no guarantee he would be able to resist falling back on drugs as a coping mechanism, Heath added.

Groom's mother Valery said in a victim impact report she almost committed suicide after the death of her daughter.

She described the Marbles family as cold and heartless, as they never showed remorse for what their son had done.

Marbles's surviving victim was a single mother, who was so traumatised by the attack that she lost her job and battled to cope or to trust anyone.

She said she would welcome some form of therapy, but could not afford it.

The State has asked for three life sentences. The defence argued there were mitigating factors which justified a lesser sentence.

Marbles will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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