Franziska murder 'vicious, callous and cruel'

2017-06-07 14:15
Franziska Blöchliger. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

Franziska Blöchliger. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The man who raped, robbed and killed 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger in 2016 could not expect a lesser sentence because of his poverty, or his regret at committing the crimes.

It was also not a mitigating factor that the teenager had been unconscious when she was raped and then murdered, the Western Cape High Court ruled in sentencing Howard Oliver on Wednesday.

Oliver received two life terms for the rape and murder, and 15 years in jail for the robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Blöchliger had been jogging in Tokai Forest in Cape Town, while her mom walked nearby with the family dog.

Oliver initially pleaded not guilty, saying he had only robbed Blöchliger of her ring and phone after smoking Mandrax.

His defence was that he had needed money to pay for his daughter's crèche fees.

He later admitted to raping her and suffocating or strangling her to death.

Oliver, a father of two with 10 previous convictions, removed Blöchliger's cellphone, earphones and ring.

READ: Man guilty of killing, raping Franziska to hear fate in court

'Callous and cruel'

Judge Kate Savage said, in her written judgment, that the attack was "vicious, callous and cruel".

He had to be punished harshly for the unfathomable level of violence against a child.

"This court stands firm against the continued abuse of women and children in our society," said Savage.

"Women and children must be able to make use of public spaces safely in all communities across our country, without the risk and fear of attack, bodily violation or even loss of life."

Once a painter and plasterer, his last job was as a farmworker in Constantia.

The court took note of his circumstances and the difficulty in supporting a family on R2 400 a month.

It was also clear that he'd had a drug habit since his teenage years.

"This court accepts that this combination of factors - financial need, drugs and no doubt limited opportunities for financial advancement - creates a tinderbox for crime to thrive."

Regret, not remorse

Despite all these factors, he could not rely on a defence of youthfulness. By not testifying, he had also failed to explain why he committed the acts, and in such a vicious manner.

He had shown regret, rather than remorse.

Two men were handed suspended sentences after they pleaded guilty to buying Blöchliger's stolen cellphone.

Co-accused Jonathan Jonas has abandoned his bail application.

Western Cape police welcomed the sentence.

"Violence committed against children is at the forefront of our fight against crime and offenders can expect that our investigators will pursue every avenue to ensure their conviction," Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut.

Read more on:    franziska blöchliger  |  cape town  |  crime

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