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Kimberley - The man who shot his girlfriend and then dumped her body in the veld before turning the gun on himself was previously found guilty of murdering his second wife.
Hilman Robert Koopman, 55, shot and killed his girlfriend, Elsie Tshwenyane, and left her body on the Douglas road, about 25km from Kimberley, before shooting himself in his head at his parents’ Midlands farm near Roodepan.
Family members of his ex-wife, Michelle Koopman (née Reyneke), on Monday said that she was murdered by Koopman on the same farm where he committed suicide. The incident happened 18 years ago when Koopman slit Reyneke’s throat with a knife.
Koopman’s brother, Willem Koopman, on Monday confirmed that his brother was found guilty of killing Reyneke.
However, according to Michelle’s family, Koopman never served time for the crime, although he “paid some money to the two children she had from a previous marriage”.
Koopman and Reyneke were married at the time and she was killed while carrying his child. She was found with her throat slit.
Family members added that they were convinced that Reyneke’s murder was the reason Koopman committed suicide over weekend.
“He knew that he got away with murder all those years ago and we think that haunted him. After killing his girlfriend over the weekend, he knew he wouldn’t be so lucky again. He would have to spend the rest of his life in jail . . . he knew suicide would be the only way out,” they said.
Koopman’s brother said that “it was a very long time ago, but he was found guilty of murdering his second wife”.
“He never served time in prison, but was sentenced to community service,” Willem said.
Meanwhile, Tshwenyane’s grieving family on Monday denied that she had cheated on Koopman.
Angeline Tshwenyane, Elsie’s sister, said that her sister was an introvert and a good mother.
“The allegations that she was cheating is not true because Robert Koopman bullied her so much that she was forced to withdraw from her friends or going out.
“We are still shocked and horrified at her sudden death and the manner in which she was killed.”
Angeline said she was with her sister on Friday night. “She was OK and seemed relaxed and calm. I went to bed at 11pm and left her in the lounge. The next morning, she was not in her bedroom and it was obvious that she had not slept in her bed.”
Angeline added that she had not heard Elsie leaving the house.
She said that family members were still struggling to come to grips with the tragedy as the couple had been together for 16 years and, although they were not married, they had a daughter together.
“My sister was not happy and was often depressed and withdrawn. She often stated that she was not happy in her relationship with Koopman and wanted to end it.”
She added that during their relationship, Koopman gave the impression that Elsie was his woman and that he was planning on marrying her and that they would move with their daughter to Kimberley.
“Koopman was a jealous, violent, possessive lover, who bullied and controlled Elsie as though she was his property.”
Angeline added that he often accused her of enjoying the attention of other men in his taxi and he would get rude and swear at her in front of his commuters.
Elsie’s older sister, Georgina Goeieman, said that at one point her sister ran away to Johannesburg. “Last year February she packed her bags and took off without leaving a note or anything.
“She called once she was in Johannesburg and told us that Koopman had taken her to a graveyard and beaten her up before pointing his gun at her, threatening to kill her.
“She feared for her life and despite us explaining to her that the police would protect her if she reported the matter, she refused to do so.”
Goeieman added that in October she returned home and Koopman came back into her life and they were again speaking about marriage.
“It is a huge loss to the family as she loved looking after small children when their parents had to go to work.”
Angeline pointed out that Koopman had a wife and four children in Kimberley.
“We are disappointed because he pretended to love Elsie, but then killed her when he suspected that she was cheating on him.”
She pointed out that their daughter turned 16 on Sunday.
“Instead of celebrating, she spent the day in bed crying for her parents.”
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