Life sentence for Gqeberha gardener who killed employer who failed to pay him for sex

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An Eastern Cape man has been sentenced.
An Eastern Cape man has been sentenced.
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  • Ralton Juan Christopher Koetaan, 34, pleaded guilty to killing Jean Lombaard, 67, for failing to pay him for sex in April 2019.
  • He told the court he hit Lombaard in the head repeatedly with a grass slasher handle until he fell to the ground.
  • The Gqeberha High Court sentenced Koetaan to life in prison for the murder.  

A 34-year-old man, Ralton Juan Christopher Koetaan, who pleaded guilty in February to killing Gqeberha smallholder, Jean Lombaard, 67, for failing to pay for sex in April 2019, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The sentencing comes two months after Koetaan told the Port Elizabeth High Court in February that he used a grass slasher handle to repeatedly hit Lombaard in the head until he fell. 

The murder took place at Lombard's Hokaai Farm, a small holding situated in Rocklands on the outskirts of Gqeberha two years ago.

The court was told that Koetaan offered sex services to Lombard for money, but things took a deadly turn on 26 April 2019 when Lombard informed Koetaan that he did not have money to pay after having sex with Koetaan. 

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He informed Koetaan that he would pay him the next time he visited.

The court heard that Koetaan became enraged because he didn't have money for a taxi and that he would have to walk for several hours to get home.

Koetaan then stormed out of the bedroom, went to the storeroom, and returned with a slasher's handle. He hit Lombard on the head several times until he fell before tying him up with an electric cord.

Koetaan then pillaged the house and took several items, including a 6.35mm calibre browning pistol, ammunition, and a cellphone. He also stole a bicycle which belonged to a 59-year-old man employed on the farm.

Report

The employee discovered Lombard's body three days later when he went to report for duty. Police arrested Koetaan a few days later.

On Tuesday, the Port Elizabeth High Court sentenced Koetaan to life imprisonment for the murder, 15 years for robbery, 15 years for possession of a firearm, three years for possession of ammunition and three more years for theft.

The sentences would run concurrently.

Koetaan and Lombard came to know each other in 2016. Koetaan was working for a garden services company which did lawn maintenance for Lombard on his smallholding.

Plea

In his guilty plea, Koetaan said towards the end of 2018 while working on the lawn, he asked Lombard to use his bathroom as he had a stomach problem. Lombard agreed, but while he was inside the toilet Lombard came in and started playing with his private parts. 

He said Lombard told him to go to his bedroom when he was done using the toilet. He went to the bedroom and found Lombard lying on the bed with his pants lowered and his private parts exposed.

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Lombard asked Koetaan to masturbate him until he ejaculated and promised to give him money. He did and Lombard gave him R620. The court heard this became a regular occurrence with Koetaan receiving no less than R500 for each session.

The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in the Eastern Cape, advocate Indra Goberdan, welcomed the life sentence handed down.

"It was through the observation of a neighbour who recognised the bicycle of the deceased in Koetaan's possession that led to the arrest. It is hoped that the family has been able to achieve a sense of closure on the finalisation of this matter," said Goberdan.  

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