Businessman George Barkhuizen jailed for life for wife’s murder

2019-09-27 21:42
George Barkhuizen. (Jabulile Pearl Hlanze, Netwerk24, file)

George Barkhuizen. (Jabulile Pearl Hlanze, Netwerk24, file)

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Businessman George Barkhuizen was sentenced to life in jail in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for the murder of his wife Odette who was killed in what was initially thought to be a hijacking four years ago, reports said on Friday.

He was also handed 15 years for fraud, six years for the possession of an illegal firearm and two years for the possession of illegal ammunition, TimesLIVE and local newspaper Comaro Chronicle reported.

Barkhuizen allegedly took out life insurance worth R7.5m weeks before his wife was gunned down in Oakdene in June 2015, News24 previously reported.

Odette, 43, was shot in the head and chest and after it was initially believed that her murder was linked to an ostensible hijacking, Barkhuizen became the prime suspect.

Barkhuizen had sent his insurer an email asking if they would pay out if she died in a hijacking, it emerged during court proceedings.

According to TimesLIVE on Friday, Judge Ramarumo Monama slammed Barkhuizen as "arrogant" in his behaviour, saying that his crime had been motivated by greed.

Barkhuizen's lawyer Rudi Krause indicated his client would appeal the conviction, the report said.

Barkhuizen's counsel had previously argued in court that the State had no case, and that evidence relied upon was circumstantial, IOL reported.

The couple's marriage had been on the rocks at the time of Odette's murder.

One of their sons had reportedly informed the police that his parents were sleeping in separate bedrooms and his mother had indicated that she wanted to file for a divorce, News24 previously reported.

Comaro Chronicle reported that, at her 2015 memorial service, Odette's friend told the publication she had been suspicious of the murder, but had no proof at the time.

This, while Barkhuizen was seemingly struggling to come to terms with his wife's death and was looking into what had happened.

Private detectives and police investigated Odette's murder for weeks before Barkhuizen was identified as a suspect.

- Compiled by Tammy Petersen

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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