PHOTO: The article about the suitcase murders in YOU, 9 May 1996.
A mere 16 years ago the Nortjé brothers were jailed for life for murder. But now it seems one of them won’t have to spend the remainder of his days behind bars as the parole board has given the go-ahead for his release.
Riku (39) and Jano (41) Nortjé are the notorious “suitcase murderers” who shocked South Africa in 1995 when they killed Dutch pensioner Engel Bakker (75) in their flat in Boksburg, Gauteng, cut up his body and stowed it in three suitcases.
In 1996 they were sentenced to life imprisonment – but now Riku is being released. Jano has also been strongly recommended for parole but for the moment he’s staying behind bars because he tried to escape from prison in 1997.
Both brothers have furthered their education in prison. Riku, who at the time of his conviction had completed only Grade 7, has passed matric and gone on to complete a master’s degree in computer science. He’s now doing a doctorate in the same field.
When Sunday newspaper Rapport reported on his imminent release, readers reacted with shock. “As he’s being released he can go and earn piles of money and pay back the taxpayers’ money that helped him to obtain the degrees,” one commented.
These readers believe the criminal justice system is a disappointment to society and wastes tax revenue. Why indeed is Riku now being allowed to walk free?
Read more of Alet van Zyl’s article in YOU 17 January 2013.