Pretoria - It was an evil deed and reflected the conduct of a hardened criminal, a judge told a former pupil of the private Rabboni Christian School in Brits, who at point blank range shot the secretary of the school twice in the head, before he sentenced the youngster to a total of 53 years in jail, of this he effectively must serve 25 years.
The well kept accused, who wears spectacles, showed no emotion as Gauteng Judge Bert Bam determined his fate on Tuesday. He gave his family, who sat in the public gallery, a thumbs-up sign before he was taken down to the holding cells.
His mother cried bitterly during the court proceedings, especially while the murdered Hester Koster’s husband, Jan Koster, testified about his loss after his wife to whom he was married for about 30 years, was killed.
Judge Bam on several occasions said that his parents and Koster’s family were the real victims here. He said he felt very sorry for the youngster’s parents, as it is clear that he grew up in a happy home.
The former pupil blamed his friends for straying from the straight and narrow path and a social worker, who assessed him, also said that the wrong friends could possibly have influenced him.
But Judge Bam remarked that the “wrongs friends” were already expelled from the school by the time he shot and killed Koster on November 22, 2016.
He also said that the young killer, who was 16 at the time, took the lead in the killing and he planned the incident with the precision of a hardened criminal.
Another teenager who was with him at the time, earlier pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping and robbery and he will go on trial at a later stage.
The young killer pleaded guilty to five charges, including murder and he explained to the court in a statement how he stole his father’s semi-automatic firearm from the safe on the day before the murder and placed it in his schoolbag.
His father is a member of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
“When I arrived at school I showed it to my friend. We went to the school grounds to check how many live rounds are inside the magazine.”
They then went back to class and after school waited at Koster’s car, where they asked her for a lift to town.
On the way to town he aimed the firearm at her and instructed her to stop the car. He said his friend tried to tie Koster’s hands with masking tape, but she tried to resist. He then shot her at point blank range twice in the head.
They left her body next to the road and the teenager drove the car to his parents home. Koster’s body was discovered later that day and the two teenagers were arrested the next day at school.
Koster’s husband meanwhile testified that she loved to work at the school and she loved the children. She was the one who attended to all their problems and she often bought them toys.
“She was a good wife and my best friend,” he said.
Koster admitted that the teenager’s family wanted to offer their condolences to him shortly after the murder and that he refused to meet with them, but he said it was too painful at the time for him to do so.
He said he was now ready and willing to meet with both the teenager and his family.
Judge Bam meanwhile said the teenager’s age was the only thing which had saved him from being sentenced to life imprisonment.
The judge remarked that by taking the firearm along, the teenager planned to shoot Koster to silence her after they took her car.