Man who killed biker Zelda van Niekerk gets life sentence for another murder

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Lucian Ackerman and Michael Peterson appears at the Western Cape High Court on February 05, 2020 in Cape Town.
Lucian Ackerman and Michael Peterson appears at the Western Cape High Court on February 05, 2020 in Cape Town.
Die Burger/Jaco Marais
  • The man convicted of murdering biker Zelda van Niekerk was sentenced for another murder committed weeks earlier.
  • Lucian Ackerman murdered Munier Larry, who he had a sexual relationship with, after getting a suspended sentence for assaulting him. 
  • While police were investigating Larry's murder, he shot Van Niekerk while he and two others robbed her for drug money.

One of the men convicted of murdering biker Zelda van Niekerk for drug money under the bridge of a busy Cape Town interchange was sentenced on Monday for another murder committed weeks before that. 

In September 2018, Lucian Ackerman was convicted and given a suspended sentence for assaulting Munier Larry, with whom he had a sexual relationship.

Days later he called Larry to an address in Facreton and shot him in the head. Larry died.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Dawood Suliman said Ackerman was eventually charged with Larry's murder on 17 December 2020. 

On Monday, 29 November he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, five years' imprisonment for illegal possession of a firearm, and 12 months in prison for illegal possession of ammunition. 

The biker he murdered weeks after the Larry murder was Van Niekerk, who was the founder of "Bikers with a Cause", which raised money for charities. 

On 28 September 2018, she parked her motorbike under the bridge near an interchange between the N1 and N7 near Canal Walk to meet other bikers who would escort a friend's son to his matric farewell.

Meanwhile, in nearby Summer Greens, Ackerman, Michael Pietersen, and Elton Abrahams had been roaming around looking for someone to rob after they ran out of drug money. 

News24 reported previously that when that didn't pan out, they made their way back to where they lived in Factreton. Ackerman was carrying a gun that belonged to his cousin, a gang member.

READ | Hefty sentences for men who robbed, killed biker Zelda van Niekerk on Cape Town highway

On the way, they saw Van Niekerk next to the highway with her helmet on and a cellphone in her hand.

They went over, and Pietersen grabbed her backpack. She resisted and tried unsuccessfully to get the passing vehicles to stop. 

Ackerman said he panicked and shot her so she would stop resisting.

At Ackerman's home, they shared the R3 000 they found in her wallet. 

When he was sentenced for Van Niekerk's murder, Ackerman already had three previous convictions for housebreaking and theft, two for possession of illegal drugs and one each for malicious damage to property, trespassing and the assault.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe gave him a life sentence for Van Niekerk's murder, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, 10 years for illegal possession of a firearm and five years for illegal possession of ammunition.

His co-accused Michael Pietersen was given an effective 25 years in jail. 

Abrahams pleaded not guilty but ultimately was sentenced to 20 years for murder and 10 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

"The five and 12 year imprisonments are to run concurrently with the life sentence," said Suliman.

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