Convicted murderer and rapist Howard Oliver has pleaded for mercy from the Western Cape High Court, as he awaits sentencing in the case of murdered 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger.
This week Oliver pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, murder and robbery. Franziska was killed in Tokai forest on March 7 last year.
His advocate, Henk Carstens, read out two letters yesterday in which the 29-year-old Westlake man pleaded for forgiveness from Franziska’s parents, Shireen and Andreas Blöchliger.
One letter was dated May 2016 - two months after the murder - and the other dated this Wednesday.
In his letters, Oliver said he was a father of two young children, and had contemplated suicide. He also wished to ask Franziska’s family for forgiveness in person.
This follows a letter from the family submitted to the court on Tuesday expressing their suffering after losing their child and how it had impacted on their marriage due to “feelings of blame and guilt”.
Oliver’s letters said that he only intended to rob the teen but was overcome by a “vile spirit”, when he raped her anally and vaginally and left her to die.
Carstens stated that the court would seek the minimum sentence allowed by law, but had to consider mitigating circumstances.
Judge Kate Savage inquired why the letter dated May 2016 was only admitted now.
Carstens said the letter was retracted after Oliver listened to advice from other inmates while in Pollsmoor Prison.
State prosecutor Lenro Badenhorst argued that Oliver had over the course of the case changed his plea constantly.
“The letter was recanted during a bail application last year, where the accused submitted an affidavit implicating his fellow accused, Jerome Moses.
"He stated that while at Pollsmoor, Moses had threatened him, his wife and his father, who has a disability,” said Badenhorst.
Badenhorts continued that if, as Oliver stated, the victim was unconscious during the rape, it made the act worse as the victim was unable to defend herself.
He asked that the court sentence Oliver to the minimum prescribed sentence allowed by law on each charge, due to the severity of the beating inflicted on the teen and the heinous circumstances of the crimes.
Judge Savage said the court would convene for sentencing on June 7 and said she had not found any indication of true remorse from Oliver within the letters.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said they would seek no less than a life sentence for the rape and murder charges and 15 years for the robbery.
He said the NPA was attempting to send out a message that the increasing numbers of women and children attacked and killed would not be tolerated.