State seeks life sentence for Blom's murderer

2015-08-18 19:56
Jean-Pierre Malan and Maruschka Robinson in court. (News24)

Jean-Pierre Malan and Maruschka Robinson in court. (News24)

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Johannesburg - The State has asked for JP Malan, the man convicted of killing Dustan Blom, to be sentenced to life in prison, a Johannesburg court heard on Tuesday.

Malan and Maruschka Robinson, convicted of being an accessory to murder after the fact, were found guilty for their respective roles in the crime by Judge Delize Smith on June 26.

Prosecutor Steven Rubin, addressing the court at the end of sentencing proceedings, said while it was possible for Robinson to also be sentenced to life, "in practice, the longest sentence I have found carries from five to eight years".

The State sought for both Robinson and Malan to be sentenced to 15 years each for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Rubin noted, however, that the pair had spent nearly two years in prison awaiting trial.

"This is not the normal type of murder," Rubin said.

"Thi ... is a murder committed by two parasites who found a weak soul... wormed their way into it and killed him [Blom] from the inside. They drugged him, they robbed him."

Rubin said the fraud charges, to which the pair pleaded guilty, showed their arrogance when they committed the crimes prior to Blom's death. Even after Blom was killed, it was "one last hurrah", he said.

He said there were no exceptional circumstances relating to the pair to mitigate sentence.

'Played the leading role'

Blom was found dead in the boot of his car at Montecasino, Fourways, on September 22 2013 after security guards noticed a foul smell.

Robinson's lawyer Jesse Penton, while not diminishing the crimes committed, pointed to Malan clearly playing "the leading role" in Blom's death. 

"Accused number two [Malan] clearly played the leading role, always had some influence over accused number one, was a manipulative person and these factors must also be thrown into the hat." 

He said Robinson moved in with Blom, who looked after her materially. It was only when Malan entered the picture that events began taking a turn for the worse.

"This whole modus of stealing from the deceased started when accused number two appeared on the scene. This whole thing lead up to the incident that caused the death of the deceased," Penton said, adding that it was Malan who initiated the "fatal incident".

"It was accused number two who came up with the sleeper hold. Today accused number two [Malan] came to court and realised this was his version as well."

Confessed to strangling Blom

Earlier, social worker Annette Vergeer, who compiled a report on Malan, told the court that he had confessed to her that he had strangled Blom. 

This was after getting "a fright" when Blom woke up from his drug-induced sleep.  

Malan had done this because he wanted to "come clean" and tell the truth.

Penton admitted that while Robinson was no angel, if Malan had not come up with the idea of hiding the murder and cleaning up the scene, Robinson would not have become an accessory after the fact.

"That is the factor that should be taken into account," he said.

"Throughout the robbery incident, accused number one [Robinson] was the passive partner."

In terms of sentencing, Penton asked for the fraud and robbery charges to run concurrently with those of being an accessory to murder, as the object was to steal money from Blom, not kill him.

"Accused number one [Robinson] was a first offender. Accused number one has now spent some two years in custody awaiting trial. This... itself is a serious form of punishment for a first offender."

Showed remorse

Even after Blom's disappearance raised suspicion, Robinson showed remorse by attempting to contact a friend of Blom's. She wanted to meet, but was turned down. 

"It escalated where she received the message the police wanted to talk to her. She decides to go to the police, this despite accused number two [Malan] trying to convince her not to do that," Penton said.

"That same day she makes a full statement disclosing what happened. This statement was self-incriminating to a certain degree."

Penton noted that Robinson had stuck to the statement throughout the investigation and pointed out the scene to police. 

Malan's defence lawyer JP Marais said Vergeer's "comprehensive report" had not been seriously challenged.

"If we look at the report, it was undisputed that accused number two [Malan] came from a dysfunctional background, starting early," Marais said.

Drugs played a significant role in Malan's life from the age of 12, and his life went into a downward spiral years later when he broke up with his girlfriend.

"It's undisputed that both the accused abused drugs on a daily basis," Marais said.

'A sleeper hold gone wrong'

"We have to take into consideration that the accused pleaded guilty to fraud charges. This was not a premeditated murder. This is something that happened on the spur of the moment.

"A sleeper hold gone wrong."

He raised the fact that Malan, like Robinson, had spent two years in custody since the trial began.

"A change has come over him from the time of his incarceration... He's now clean for the first time in 20 years, plus he's not using drugs," he said.

Blom's murder was not a planned crime and, said Marais, as "callous as it might sound, he knew the deceased was worth his weight in gold alive".

He said a sentence of 20 years in prison for Malan would be appropriate for the murder, with other sentences for fraud and robbery with aggravating circumstances running concurrently. 

Following their final statements, Smith adjourned the matter to Thursday, when sentence would be handed down.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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