Belgian national sentenced to life in prison for murder and rape of Chantelle Barnard

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Jurgen Vandekeere
Jurgen Vandekeere
Photo: Isabel Venter
  • A 42-year-old Belgian national who raped and killed Chantelle Barnard has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • Jurgen Karel Gunther Vandekeere was also sentenced to five years behind bars for defeating the ends of justice.
  • Vandekeere fled the country after his arrest and was rearrested in January 2020 when he returned to South Africa.

A 42-year-old Belgian national has been sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for the 2011 rape and murder of Chantelle Barnard.

The Gauteng High Court, sitting in Benoni, sentenced Jurgen Karel Gunther Vandekeere to the two life terms for the rape and murder, as well as five years for defeating the ends of justice. The court ordered that the sentences should run concurrently.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said Barnard visited the Benoni smallholding that belonged to Vandekeere's father on 1 April that year, where she and her boyfriend had rented a flat.

READ | Benoni murder trial finally under way after suspect evaded cops for seven years

"They had vacated the flat the previous day and Chantelle went back to the premises on that day to return a key and pick up some items that had been left behind," Mahanjana said.

"Vandekeere, who stayed on the same premises, approached Barnard when she was inside the empty flat and invited her into his house under unknown pretences, where he raped and killed her by slitting her throat."

Chantelle Barnard

News24 previously reported that after killing Barnard, Vandekeere bathed her body.

Barnard's family started searching for her when she did not answer her calls to her cellphone. A neighbour later reported hearing screaming that came from the smallholding.

ALSO READ | Woman raped, killed then bathed

Barnard's mother, Suzette went to the smallholding and started banging on the doors until Vandekeere's father opened for her.

He unlocked his son's house, where Barnard's body was found.

Mahanjana said the matter was delayed because Vandekeere skipped the country after his arrest and added that he was only rearrested after he returned to South Africa in January 2020 and handed himself over to police.

Suzette Barnard, mother of murdered Chantelle Barnard, embraces the state prosecutor, adv. Annalie Coetzee.

"Prosecutor, advocate Annalie Coetzee, said the delay, brought about by the fact that the accused failed to stand his trial in 2013, to a large extent exacerbated the trauma suffered by the deceased's family and friends," Mahanjana added.

"Coetzee expressed her satisfaction with the imposed sentences."

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