Cape Town - A prison warden who lured his estranged wife to Pollsmoor Prison, promising to give her money, and then shot her dead, was jailed for 10 years on Thursday.
Johan Dietricht appeared in the Western Cape High Court before acting Judge Nape Dolamo, who said Dietricht had faced life imprisonment for premeditated murder.
However, there were compelling and substantial circumstances, including provocation, that permitted the court to impose a less severe sentence.
Dietricht told the court he had been happily married for years, until his deceased wife, Marilyn, started an affair with her employer.
He told the court: “She was a housewife, but then started working, and then began cheating on me with her boss.”
He said his wife often flirted with her employer in his presence, and even went away for weekends with the employer.
On one occasion, he caught his wife in bed with him, he said.
He said he left the marital home and stayed with his sister.
On August 21, 2009, he took anti-depression medication, and drank a full bottle of sherry, before telephoning his wife from the prison.
He asked her to come to the prison because he wanted to give her money.
On her arrival, he met her in a guest room, and started shooting wildly at her.
She tried to escape, but fell, and he then kicked her in the face as she lay on the floor.
Dietricht, in the heat of the moment, then turned the gun on himself in an attempted suicide, but the trigger jammed.
The court rejected Dietricht's defence of non-pathological diminished responsibility.
The judge said he had sympathy for Dietricht, but that he had to guard against being too lenient in the passing of sentence.
He added: “My sympathy for your circumstances has to be balanced against the interests of the community and the gravity of the offence.”
The circumstances that permitted him to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence included the fact that Dietricht had been in custody, awaiting trial, for nearly four years.
Others were that Dietricht had a clean record, suffered from a stress disorder, and that there was no possibility he would repeat the offence. - Sapa