Crossbow killer gets strict parole

Cape Town - The Kraaifontein woman who killed her husband with a crossbow is being released on strict parole conditions and "will immediately be locked up again if she breaks any of them".

That was the word from Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour on Thursday on 49-year-old Louisa Chatburn's release. After being released on Friday, she'll be on parole until November 24, 2015.

Balfour on Thursday gave an exclusive address at Parliament on the matter to Die Burger, Judge Siraj Desai as chairperson of the National Council for Correctional Services and Erns Kriek, the Director of Parole Also present at the meeting were Zalisile Mkhontwana and Wikus Gresse the chairperson- and deputy chairperson respectively of Pollsmoor prison's parole board.

Chatburn must appear before the parole board every six months, she must see a psychologist for two years, attend sessions with a criminologist and work with pastors of the Restorative Justice organisation.

It was reported earlier that the family of murder victim Graham Chatburn were distraught about her release.

She shot him through the head with a crossbow as he lay sleeping in their house on February 16 1992. His body was later dumped in the Liesbeek River.

Balfour said on Thursday he understood that Chatburn's family felt embittered.

"One thing we must respect. If someone has been sentenced, the law has run its course. The DCS has gone through many processes with her and has considered how she's changed."

"I've been assured that her parole processes have been correctly handled and that both she and the victim's family have been given an opportunity to have their say. There will be differences of opinion.

"Our goal after various rehabilitation programmes is to return people to the community."

According to Desai, Chatburn had been refused parole several times before.

DCS then adopted the restorative justice approach, by arranging for all those affected to discuss it together.

"That didn't work because his family insisted that she was protecting someone else and that she'd also murdered her first husband. A court of law had nevertheless found otherwise after a judicial inquest.

Desai said he and five other high-ranking legal and academic experts, meeting as the national Parole Review Board, had reviewed Chatburn's case last year.

They had unanimously found last year that "because of unresolved issues" she should remain in custody for at least another year.

They said restorative justice focused on the damage done by a criminal act and demanded that the perpetrator accept responsibility for his or her deeds.

"But if, as in this case, there's no real prospect of reconcilitation between the parties, this factor cannot prevent the perpetrator from being released on parole."

According to Gresse "we took extra care in her sensitive case because we knew that there'd be intense media interest, hence the strict parole conditions".

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Do you think the wardens deployed across Gauteng will make a dent in curbing crime?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No, proper policing is needed
79% - 3820 votes
Yes, anything will help at this point
21% - 1004 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.