Sentencing of guest house owner's murderers delayed for last-minute mental state report

2019-03-26 16:20
Nicoleze Geldenhuys, Romeo Hendricks, Enrico Malherbe and André Coetzee in court. (File: Edrea du Toit, Netwerk24)

Nicoleze Geldenhuys, Romeo Hendricks, Enrico Malherbe and André Coetzee in court. (File: Edrea du Toit, Netwerk24)

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The sentencing proceedings of a carer and three other people found guilty of murdering and robbing Paradyskloof guest house owner Marie Verwey, 80, were postponed on Tuesday for an eleventh-hour assessment of whether the carer has a personality disorder. 

This was the result of testimony by probation officer Katrina Moses in pre-sentencing proceedings in the Western Cape High Court on Monday. 

Moses had submitted that Nicole Geldenhuys, who had been Verwey's carer, had had a violent and abusive upbringing, and while in prison had also been involved in fights, seemingly unable to stop herself during a dispute. 

READ: Troubled childhoods, truancy and drugs: Paradyskloof murderers had a difficult life, court hears

She said Geldenhuys might have a personality disorder, but that she does not have the qualifications to confirm that.

In February, Geldenhuys, her lover Romeo Hendricks, Enrico Malherbe and Andre Coetzee were found guilty of killing the octogenarian in 2017 and robbing her of at least R700 000 in jewellery and personal items.

They gained entry into the security conscious woman's house when Verwey opened up to let Geldenhuys drop off some fruit.

Deceased's sons 'gutted' by her murder

Wearing a T-shirt with the words "Sparkle and Shine Bright", Geldenhuys stood up in the dock on Tuesday to indicate that she understood that sentencing proceedings would be postponed for now, to allow for this new development. 

Prosecutor Jacomiena Swart told Judge Mushtak Parker that Geldenhuys's prison psychologist had been contacted with regard to possibly handing over her notes on Geldenhuys. However, the psychologist felt it would be a breach of her professional ethics and undermine the work she and Geldenhuys had done so far. 

The psychiatrist who had seen Geldenhuys in prison also no longer works there. 

The alternative is to apply to the Legal Aid Board for permission to appoint an expert to assess Geldenhuys to supplement her pre-sentencing report. Parker said he would write a letter indicating why this needed to be handed to the Legal Aid Board. 

Parker postponed the sentencing proceedings to April 2. 

Verwey was stabbed more than 60 times and her sons Gabriel and Francois wrote letters to the court saying they were gutted by her death.

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