Judge Derek Wille told Groenewald he should get his affairs in order before August 29 when he will hand down sentencing for the murder of Hilary van Rooyen in 2017.
The 25-year-old was convicted in May on charges of murder and theft. The deceased’s body was found in a pool of blood at her Durbanville home on May 9, 2017. In his not-guilty plea, he said he had struck her with the closest thing he could find - a vase - after she had made “sexual advances” towards him. She had allegedly also threatened that she would tell friends and family that he tried to assault and rape her.
Van Rooyen’s husband, Derek, told the court he felt angry and hated the accused with every fibre of his being and would never be able to forgive him.
“Identifying my wife’s body and seeing her damaged face in the mortuary has been one of the horrific pictures I’ve ever experienced”.
“Until today, that picture is printed in my head and impossible to get out of my mind. The accused showed no remorse,” said Derek.
His son, Dean, echoed this, saying he could never forgive Groenewald because his mother wouldn’t be able to see his kids one day, see him get married or be there for milestones because he took that away. “My mother gave so much good to the world. I fear for the world if he is out. I can’t forgive you,” said Dean, as he read out his victim impact report while calling for the maximum sentence.
South African National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders social worker Arina Smit told the court that Groenewald was considered low risk in terms of being a danger.
The Department of Correctional Services social worker Mmseepa Kwakwa gave her recommendations after interviewing him and told the court he would not be suitable for correctional supervision, as he had not taken full responsibility for what he had done, and still placed the blame on the victim. “It should be taken into consideration that he maintains self-defence and shows no remorse,” Kwakwa said.
During heads of argument for sentencing, the defence argued that substantial and compelling circumstances did exist: the accused was relatively young and a first offender; he had shown remorse; he committed the offence with intention as described by dolus eventualis; and,the accused, in the commission of the offence, had acted with diminished capacity.
The State’s Evadne Kortje submitted in her heads of argument for sentencing that the circumstances of the case and the aggravating circumstances were so extreme that it outweighed Groenewald’s personal circumstances. It warranted a sentence in excess of the prescribed period of 15 years.
“I now have the difficult task of imposing a sentence on you. The sad thing about this case is that it was totally unnecessary,” said Judge Wille.