Franschhoek murderers get life

2000-08-31 16:13

Cape Town - Chaos erupted in the Cape High Court on Thursday when the four accused in the murder of a young couple in the Franschhoek Pass received double life sentences.

About 200 friends and relatives started crying and shouting in protest against what they regarded as ôan unfair sentenceÆ.

Relatives of one of the accused attacked Die Burger photographer Johann van Tonder. They claimed that the sentence would not have been as harsh had the victims not been white.

Judge Deon van Zyl looked on in disgust as the murderers' relatives disrupted court proceedings, reporters said. Van Zyl was also unable to order that the court be cleared as there was no court orderly present during setencing. Heinrico Pietersen (18), Morne Lakay (23), Dawid Williams (23) and Jehan Abrahams (27) each received a double life sentence for the two murders, 15 years each for attempted murder and 15 years each for armed robbery. They may only be considered for parole in 25 yearsÆ time.

Thus Pietersen was also sentenced to 36 years' imprisonment for the attempted murder of Myburgh as well as armed robbery and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Lakay also got 41 years for the attempted murder of Myburgh, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and escaping from the Groot Drakenstein prison with the use of a stolen prison vehicle.

Williams, in addition to the life sentences, got 35 years for attempted murder, robbery and escaping from prison.

Abrahams was also sentenced to an additional 30 years for the attempted murder of Myburgh and armed robbery.

ôI can only hope that when the accused are considered for parole some time in the future, the body which will have to make the decision will refrain from allowing any one of them to go free unless it is quite certain that he will never again be able to perpetrate a violent crime, and therefore would hold no threat to the community. The community will certainly not allow that such persons ever be released,ö he said.

The four were arrested in July last year following the murder of Dorian van Rensburg (25), who was shot in the head at short range, and Marisa du Toit (21), who was forced to jump off a cliff to her death, and while she was holding on to a tree branch, was also shot in the head at short range.

The only survivor, Audrey Myburg (21), who was also forced to jump off the cliff, suffered a wound to her hip. When pronouncing judgement, Judge Van Zyl said ôit is a miracle that she survivedö.

The three were attacked and robbed in the picturesque Franschhoek Pass while they were admiring the view at a favourite lookout point.

ôI am glad that the four have been put away,ö Du ToitÆs mother Alta said.

Dorian van RensburgÆs brother Martin said the court hearing was extremely emotional, but that the family were glad to put it behind them.

ôThe court has done its duty, and I hope the sentence deters others from doing similar crimes. Dorian was a good, gentle person, full of life, and he had a lovely smileàö - News24/Die Burger/Sapa