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Pretoria - A Pretoria geologist on Monday insisted he was innocent in the High Court in Pretoria, shortly after being found guilty of his former wife's murder.
Cobus Prinsloo, 66, appeared relaxed and even smiled when he testified in support of an application to have his bail extended pending sentencing proceedings.
He told the court he would have fled long ago if he believed he was guilty.
“But I don't believe that. I reject everything about that. If I wanted to run I would have been gone a long time ago,” he said.
This was shortly after Judge Moses Mavundla convicted him of the October 2009 murder of his former wife Cordelia.
Prinsloo's gardener Lucas Moloi was sentenced in 2011 to 18-years imprisonment after admitting he had killed Cordelia by hitting her twice on the back of her head with a shovel.
The court accepted Moloi's evidence that Prinsloo had offered him R50,000 and a house to murder his ex-wife.
Mavundla said Moloi had nothing to gain by giving evidence as he had already been sentenced.
The couple lived in separate houses on the same smallholding after their divorce because they could not reach a settlement about the division of assets.
Cordelia's decomposed body was found in a flower bed near her garden cottage after she disappeared days earlier.
The court rejected Prinsloo's version that Moloi had acted on his own out of anger about his wages and being reprimanded about his work.
Mavundla accepted evidence that Prinsloo had told his former wife's family at the scene she had been killed after being hit behind the neck with one blow “like a rabbit”.
At that stage her body was decomposed.
The cause of her death would not have been obvious and could only be determined during a post mortem examination.
Prinsloo already knew the deceased had been hit on the back of the neck, which shows that he must have had knowledge much earlier of how she had been killed, Mavundla said.
He added that Prinsloo's protestations of innocence could not be reasonably possibly true.
Prinsloo had not impressed the court as a witness and it was clear that he had carefully planned his wife's killing, the judge said.
Prinsloo, in his evidence for bail, reiterated his stance that he was innocent.
“First of all, again, I deny the R50 000.... I can't remember now if I had the money to pay him then,” he said.
Prinsloo told the court he could not surrender his passport because work was scarce in South Africa and he earned a living by doing geological consulting work in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
He said he never left the country for longer than ten days at a time because he had cancer and had to be near his doctors though he was presently in remission.
He said although he was at retirement age, he had to pay off bonds on two properties and had to support his sons who were still studying.
He was also involved with his church and had to “buy time” to meet those responsibilities, he said.
Mavundla granted him R30 000 bail pending the conclusion of sentencing proceedings.
A postponement date will be determined on Tuesday. - Sapa