Dad who killed son after mistaking him for a burglar freed after murder conviction

Coert Kruger embraces his other son after being found guilty of murdering his eldest son.
Coert Kruger embraces his other son after being found guilty of murdering his eldest son.
Elizabeth Sejake, Rapport

A 51-year-old Vanderbijlpark man, who mistook his son for a burglar and shot him dead, was found guilty of murder in the Vanderbijlpark Regional Court on Friday, Netwerk24 reports. 

Coert Kruger was released on a warning and will serve no jail time. The death of his son is punishment enough, said Magistrate Robert Button. 

According to Vaal Weekblad, the shooting occurred on March 22 when Coert Jr, 30, broke into a house on Kruger's smallholding. The alarm reportedly went off and Kruger went to investigate with a private security company. It was reportedly clear that a break-in was in progress. 

Netwerk24 reports that the area had been plagued by break-ins at the time. 

Figure on the roof

Kruger stood outside the house and reportedly saw a figure moving on the roof. It was dark and a searchlight was used to try to locate the intruder. Kruger then fired a shotgun in the general direction of the figure and heard his son's voice, expressing pain. Realising what had happened, Kruger reportedly contemplated suicide, the court heard. 

According to Vanderbijlpark police spokesperson Sergeant Gertrude Makhale, Kruger was arrested before his son's corpse could be removed from the roof. 

Netwerk24 reports that Coert Jr was a drug addict who had been admitted for rehabilitation in December, but he absconded. Following the shooting, stolen jewellery was found in his possession. 

After his sentencing, Kruger told Rapport: "All we have now are memories and we must now begin to process his tragic death. Coert will be with me as long as I'm alive."

In April, An Ennerdale father, who claimed that he had shot his son accidentally when he was startled by a knock on his car window, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which was suspended for five years.

Sibusiso Emmanuel Tshabalala shot and killed his son Luyanda, 16, at Fred Norman Secondary School in Ennerdale, southern Johannesburg, on June 5, 2018.

In 2004, criminal charges against former Springbok rugby player Rudi "Vleis" Visagie, who killed his daughter, were officially withdrawn from a court roll in Mpumalanga, News24 reported. 

Visagie shot and his killed his daughter in May that year as she pulled out of the driveway of their property in Maggiesdal, Mbombela.

He'd mistaken her for a car thief and was arrested and charged with culpable homicide.

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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