PODCAST | The Story: Teen who murdered his mother gets 25 years behind bars

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Ruan van Heerden was charged with murder and handed a 25-year prison sentence on Tuesday in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Ruan van Heerden was charged with murder and handed a 25-year prison sentence on Tuesday in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Deaan Vivier
  • Ruan van Heerden received a 25-year prison sentence on Tuesday in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
  • He was charged with murder after he stabbed his mother 36 times.
  • He attacked his parents in their home in Pretoria in early 2020 with co-accused Carlson Phelps.

In early 2020, 18-year-old Ruan van Heerden attacked his adoptive parents in their home in Pretoria.

He stabbed his mother 36 times while co-accused Carlson Phelps beat his father with a golf club.

On Tuesday, Van Heerden was charged with murder in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court where he received a 25-year sentence.

Phelps is set to appear in court on 7 June. 

READ | Three brothers die at school after allegedly consuming energy drink

Van Heerden's mother, Magda, only succumbed to her injuries a year after the attack, and died in hospital. His father, Barney, survived the attack, but is left a "childless widower" struggling with "severe trauma".

This week on The Story we discuss this gruesome crime with News24 reporter Alex Mitchley who followed the case closely.

According to Mitchley, Van Heerden had a drug problem and had left a rehabilitation facility only 10 days before the attack.

Later, criminologist, Professor Christiaan Bezuidenhout from the University of Pretoria, discusses the nature of these crimes and what might have driven a person to kill their own parent.


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