So said Magistrate Victor Gibson in the Cape Town Regional Court this week where he threw the book at Logan Petersen, 27, for robbery with aggravating circumstances and the brutal murder of stay-at-home dad Daniel Mardell, 42, in his Sea Point home in October 2015.
Declaring the minimum sentence of 15 years inadequate, Gibson sentenced an emotionless Petersen to 15 years for robbery and 18 for murder, with eight years to run concurrently. Petersen has already served two years and nine months.
After confronting Petersen mid-robbery, Mardell was stabbed and bled to death while his life partner Vivienne Taberer frantically tried to call an ambulance and shield their young sons from their dying father.
In a scathing judgment, Gibson rebuked Petersen for not apologising to Mardell’s family or showing any form of remorse.
“Every person’s house is his castle,” he said.
“It’s the one place where a person should be safe. And it’s in this environment where you murdered the deceased for items of very little value.
“Mr Mardell played a significant role in his family - bigger than a normal person. He was a stay-at-home dad looking after his sons, Joshua and Luke. He was their pillar of strength and made it possible for his partner to earn an income to support them. You robbed this family of that.”
Gibson said Petersen should have been aware that this was a possible outcome of his housebreaking. Furthermore, he chose not just to flee after being confronted but to murder on his way out.
“Mr Mardell deserved to live his life in peace, to watch his sons grow up and for them to enjoy a supportive father who watched over them at home and on the sports field. And you took that away from them.
“What’s tragic is that this family is not alone We live in a land of violence and crime, a land where no one is safe, not on the streets, in your vehicle, at the shops or in your home.
“And this is because of people like you. People who have no respect for their fellow South Africans. People who don’t care what violent damage they leave in their shadow.”
Taberer, 52, wept silently during sentencing. Later when called by Gibson to the front of the court, she bravely looked at Petersen, who could not meet her eyes, while the magistrate explained her role at any future parole hearing.
Wiping her tears as she left the courtroom, Taberer, an asset management portfolio manager, expressed relief that the trial was finally over. “But I can’t help feeling sad,” she said.