Killer ‘architect of his own misfortune’
Kimberley - The17-year-old Griquatown killer gave Northern Cape High Court Judge President Frans Kgomo a steely stare when he was handed an effective 20-year sentence for the premeditated murders of three members of the Steenkamp family.
Kgomo on Wednesday challenged the teen to stand up and accept responsibility for his actions.
“On Friday, you turn 18 years old and you will become a man. It is time that you deal with the consequences.”
He was convicted of murdering Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43 and their 14-year-old daughter, Marthella, on their farm Naauwhoek on Good Friday in 2012. They were shot several times in their heads and bodies.
The boy will remain at the juvenile detention facility at the Kimberley Prison until he turns 21, after which he will be transferred to the adult section.
Kgomo stated that direct imprisonment was the most appropriate sentence.
He explained that while the Child Justice Act prescribed a maximum sentence of 25 years, he would grant him a remission of five years, to contemplate his future from within the confines of prison.
He was satisfied that the teen had not been influenced by anyone into committing the crimes and that he had not acted under the duress of an adult.
“This was not suggested by the defence. The accused placed himself in the barn when the murders were committed. If this was not where he was, he must have been inside the house when the family was killed. He must have witnessed the shooter eliminating the family or he was in cahoots with the killers.
“Alternatively, he pulled the trigger of the smoking guns that he later that evening, delivered to the police.”
Kgomo also pointed out that the teen had not been in telephonic contact with any stranger or outsider prior, during or after the murders.
“The truth is that (he) is the architect of his own misfortune. He is the one who raised the alarm with the police and cried wolf. He could not have wished for better and sensitive support from the police, the family and family friends on the evening of the events.”
He added that the “gratuitous violence” displayed by the teen’s “senseless conduct left much devastation, grief and anger”.
He also said that the most plausible motive for the rape, as supported by the State, was that the “torturer” had raped Marthella and that he had to eliminate the rest of her family in order to prevent them from finding out.
Kgomo referred to the testimony of forensic psychologist, Dr Larissa Panieri-Peter, who stated that the brutal nature of the crime was not consistent with a cold, calculated and methodical killer.
She pointed out that the boy was an excellent marksman, who could have hit his target with a single shot from a distance.
The deceased were killed with two weapons where blunt force injuries were found on their skulls and faces.
There were also multiple lacerations on their bodies.
Kgomo indicated that the boy showed no remorse or contrition and continued to protest his innocence.
He added that the killer was decisive in his intent to kill the deceased when he returned to the safe to fetch the .22 rifle to inflict the head wounds after first shooting them with a .357 Magnum revolver.
“He made sure there were no survivors. The killer showed no remorse and perpetuated lies to the police, family members, school friends, social workers, community at large and the court, that it was a farm attack.”
He explained that the teenager had falsely implicated innocent people as being responsible for the murders.
“A private investigator appointed by family members and his guardians had to track down ghost perpetrators.”
He added that the teen had turned his back on Deon’s mother, when she offered him sound advice.
“Ouma Bettie believes that the boy is guilty of the crimes that he was convicted of.
“Unfortunately the killer is an obdurate or obstinate as a mule. He refused to read or listen to her counsel and turned his back to her.”
Kgomo also pointed out how the teen had been restricted by his legal representatives and guardians not to speak to anyone about what happened.
Diamond Fields Advertiser