Dene Stebuys was on Monday convicted of killing his wife PHOTO: Raahil Sain/ANA

PORT ELIZABETH - The Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday convicted Dene Stebuys, 42, of bludgeoning his wife to death with a rock in June 2016. 

Judge Irma Schoeman said Stebuys had direct intent to murder his wife, Marilyn, who had taken out a protection order against him out of fear he would kill her and their children.

Marilyn had been granted the protection order against her husband in May 2016, but was murdered the following month. 

Stebuys was also convicted of contravening the protection order, assaulting Jonathan Gabani and the common assault of his wife and assault of his son Denwin, 16. 

In a separate incident Stebuys stabbed his own son with a knife when the teenager attempted to defuse a volatile situation between his parents. 

The couple had been married for a period of 16 years but Schoeman said that it appeared that their relationship deteriorated after Marilyn opened a case of sexual assault against her father-in-law. 

The case involved another family member with Marilyn accusing her husband of being in “cahoots” with his dad at the time. 

The tragic event of Marilyn’s passing unfolded on June 5, 2016. Marilyn, who was intoxicated at the time, had asked Gabani to walk her home near a sports complex in Humansdorp. When Stebuys appeared he saw them walking arm in arm and attacked Gabani.

Stebuys had suspected that his wife was having an affair.

The court accepted Gabani’s evidence that Stebuys was extremely angry perceiving an affair between the two. The court found Stebuys slapped Gabani with an open hand, fists flew and a scuffle ensued. 

After the fight between the men, Stebuys approached Marilyn and embraced her, at which point, according to Gabani, he walked away and that was the last time he saw Marilyn. 

Marilyn’s body was later discovered dumped in bushes near the sports complex.

Evidence presented before court showed that she had skull fractures and blunt force trauma to the neck and head was determined as the cause of death.

Schoeman said an issue in the trial was establishing the identity of the killer. 

Two witnesses failed to point out Stebuys at an identity parade and later told the court that they were scared because they had heard he was a dangerous man. 

The witnesses identified Stebuys at the trial and although Schoeman said they were credible witnesses, the identification carried little weight. 

Schoeman described Stebuys as a “bad witness” who changed his version as the trial progressed. 

She said Stebuys contradicted himself and the version of events put forward by witnesses including testimony from his brother and father. 

“Before [Stebuys] met up with Gabani he was angry. It is highly unlikely that the deceased would decide to go home with the accused only to get home and leave,” said Schoeman. 

Schoeman also dismissed Stebuys’s claim that Marilyn’s blood on his clothes was as a result of her nose bleeding.

Pre-sentencing proceedings will get underway on Tuesday. 

African News Agency (ANA)