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Cape Town - Former Pollsmoor Prison warder Johan Dietricht, who received a 10-year jail term on Thursday for murdering his wife at the gates of the prison four years ago, has been forgiven by the woman’s father.
Edward Solomons spoke to the Cape Argus after Western Cape High Court Judge Nape Dolamo sentenced Dietricht to 10 years behind bars on Thursday.
“He (Dietricht) has suffered a lot. He lost everything, his family and house. We have forgiven him for everything and I think there’s two sides to the story,” Solomons said on Thursday.
In handing down sentence, Judge Dolamo found that while the State proved Dietricht shot and killed his wife, Marilyn, on August 21, 2009, it had not shown that the murder was premeditated.
“This will have a profound impact on the sentence,” Judge Dolamo said.
Dietricht, who has been on chronic medication for depression since 1981, shot Marilyn at the gates of the prison when she came to collect money from him. One of the couple’s sons, 11 at the time, was present during the shooting. The couple’s other son, 23, was at court on Thursday but declined to speak to the media.
Dietricht had been married to Marilyn for 23 years but the couple were separated for about a year before the incident. Marilyn obtained an interdict against Dietricht barring him from their Lotus River house during that time.
The court heard that Dietricht had found his wife having sex with another man in their bedroom. “Your wife had extra-marital affairs and publicly flaunted it, no doubt to your embarrassment. In addition to her infidelities, she exposed you to financial ruin. A R700 000 home loan was taken out and was spent on lavish gifts for her and her lover,” Judge Dolamo said.
The judge found that Dietricht had been provoked on the day of the shooting. “I nevertheless accept that you lost your temper but not that you lost control of your actions,” the judge said.
He found that exceptional and compelling circumstances existed to justify a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentenced of 15 years in prison for a first offender.
After sentencing, Dietricht flashed a double thumbs-up.