Knysna - The man convicted of raping and murdering a nine-year-old girl outside Knysna last year was handed two life sentences in the Circuit High Court in Knysna on Friday.
The court was packed with family and friends of little Rosaline Philander, as Judge James Yekiso delivered judgment, and the gallery erupted in applause when Ewald Booysen, 32, was handed two life sentences for rape and murder, as well as 10 years for kidnapping. His sentences will run concurrently.
“Although it doesn’t bring my daughter back, I’m happy justice was served today,” Rosaline’s father Derrek Marneville said.
The child’s murder sent shockwaves through the close-knit Rheenendal community after her body was found in a wooded area on August 31. She had been stabbed twice in the neck and raped.
Forensic pathologist Mariette Hurst testified the girl’s rape was the “worst she had ever seen”.
According to earlier testimony, Booysen lured the girl away from where she was playing with friends near her home by promising her chips at a local shop, as as well as R10.
Booysen pleaded not guilty to all charges, and claimed in his plea explanation Rosaline had followed him to the shop “out of her own free will”.
He admitted he had consumed alcohol on the morning of the murder and said he’d strangled the girl during an alcohol-fuelled rage when she confronted him about his drinking.
Hurst ruled out Booysen’s version of events after finding no signs of strangulation. Booysen was also spotted later that day with blood-soaked clothes. He claimed it was from slaughtering a cow but tests revealed the blood matched that of the victim.
In mitigation, Booysen told the court he had grown up in an abusive home where his father assaulted his mother. Although he apologised for what had happened to Rosaline, he remained adamant he had not committed the crimes.
Marneville also took the stand pleading for life imprisonment of the man who killed his daughter.
“I miss my little girl terribly. She was such a good daughter. I still see her running down the road doing cartwheels on her way back from the shop,” he said after Friday’s court proceedings.
Booysen, who has a previous conviction for rape, was released in 2010 after serving about nine years of a 15-year sentence.
Yekiso made it clear the crimes were very serious and that Booysen – who is related to Rosaline’s mother – had abused his role as a family member.
“Although he (Booysen) asked for the community’s forgiveness, he showed no signs of remorse and is still adamant he is not guilty,” Judge Yekiso said. He could, therefore, not deviate from the prescribed life sentence.
Garden Route Media