Pretoria - He is ill, suffers from insomnia and fears his cancer may have returned. He finds life in jail difficult, especially now that he has been told he is due to be transferred to a cell he will share with 40 inmates.
These are some of the reasons advanced by wife killer Cobus Prinsloo motivating why he should be granted bail pending an appeal against his conviction and 25-year jail sentence.
In May, Prinsloo was smiling as he was led down the stairs to start serving his sentence for his part in the killing of his former wife, air hostess Cordelia Prinsloo.
He had instructed his gardener, Lucas Moloi, to kill the attractive woman with whom he had a stormy relationship. On November 13, 2011, Moloi struck Cordelia on the back of the head with a garden spade while she was watering the garden. She lived in a separate house from her former husband, on a plot north of Pretoria.
Still clad in pink pyjamas, her body was buried in a shallow grave in the garden. Prinsloo “discovered” the body after a “frantic” two-day search for her.
Moloi, who is serving an 18-year sentence, said his employer had instructed him to kill her and Judge Moses Mavundla agreed. “He got her killed and like a coward, got Moloi to do the work,” the judge commented during sentencing.
Set on proving that he is innocent, Prinsloo is desperate to get out of jail pending his appeal. He turned to the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein when the Pretoria High Court refused him bail. He claimed he had new facts warranting his release, but the court referred the matter back to the High Court.
The new facts are that he cannot sleep and has “no strength”. Prinsloo, who earlier had cancer, said he had developed a serious lump in his throat since his incarceration, his voice had become hoarse, and that he urgently needed medical attention.
He also complained about his cholesterol because of the prison food and said the medication brought to him by his relatives only reach him weeks later. His request to the Department of Correctional Services for a special diet prescribed by his oncologist had fallen on deaf ears.
Prinsloo feared life would become even more difficult when he had to share a cell with 40 other inmates as there were language barriers and they did not understand each other.
Prisoners were woken at 5.30am and doors opened by 7.30am. They were released into the square until about 11am, when they were locked up again. Lunch was at 1.30pm and then they were locked up until the next morning, he said.
According to Prinsloo, he had already been assaulted in prison by three inmates who wanted his property. He was apparently threatened that he would be killed if he reported the matter to the authorities.
He was not a flight risk as he had no money, he said, adding that he did not want to be a fugitive for the rest of his life.
He is a geologist. He said he was promised a job upon his release from jail.
Judge Mavundla, in refusing bail, said Prinsloo’s conviction was a sequel to a “dastardly killing” of his divorced wife with whom he had two grown sons.
He said Prinsloo’s health problems were not new, and added that the body pains and insomnia were, in his opinion, mere psychosomatic signs of failing to deal with the reality of his situation. If he was ill, he could consult the prison doctor.