Cop who killed his three children seeks parole

Senior Superintendent Marius van der Westhuizen shot his three children in their beds with his service pistol. Picture: Mxolisi Madela

Senior Superintendent Marius van der Westhuizen shot his three children in their beds with his service pistol. Picture: Mxolisi Madela

Published Nov 25, 2023


Former police officer Marius van der Westhuizen, who killed his three young children 17 years ago in front of his wife, has only served four years for each murder and is now asking to be freed on parole.

Van der Westhuizen is expected to face his parole hearing on December 13 at Malmesbury Prison.

Van der Westhuizen, formerly of Brackenfell, was the acting station commander at Claremont Police Station in 2006 when he killed his three children, 21-month-old Antoinette, 5-year-old Marius and 16-year-old Bianca, to punish his wife for having lied to him.

Moments before pulling the trigger, Van der Westhuizen gave Charlotte an ultimatum to choose between her job or him and their family, and when she answered that she could not make such a choice, the murders began.

During the trial, the court heard that Van der Westhuizen believed that she had chosen her job over her and her family.

“You made your choice. Now you must face the consequences,” Van der Westhuizen said when he pulled the trigger.

Charlotte continues to work as a police officer and will not be part of the hearing and has instructed her private attorney to act on her behalf.

Charlotte’s attorney, Gerhard van Niekerk, of De Klerk Van Gend Attorneys Inc., confirmed the hearing but that his client would not be part of it.

“The parole hearing will take place on December 13, and my client will not partake in the VOD, victim dialogue,” he said.

The bid comes 12 years after Van der Westhuizen launched an appeal against his sentence which collapsed and his sentence of 24 years was upheld.

Van der Westhuizen in his argument said the State had not given him a fair trial and deemed the judge as being biased and that his estranged wife was also not thoroughly cross-examined.

Retired veteran police officer Lieutenant-Colonel Sharon Jephta said Van der Westhuizen was not a good candidate for parole as he had only served less than five years per murder.

Jephta is at the forefront against domestic violence and began a 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign and uses her social media accounts to educate women how to break free from an abusive relationship.

Jephta, who is in communication with Charlotte, said the murders were a life sentence for her as she was severely traumatised by losing her children.

Often a simple visit to a local mall was hard as facing young children plunged her back to the traumatic day.

“At the time of these murders, I was in the province,” she said.

“It is a case, as a police officer that I will never forget. I do not think rehabilitation or prison can cure a narcissist.

“He killed three children and he has only served four years for each murder. Charlotte herself is still a victim, she lost everything, imagine the fear she must be feeling at the possibility of parole. Narcissists will never respect boundaries.

“The parole board must let him serve his full sentence, there is no rehabilitation that can cure him.

“Charlotte is past the child-bearing age and there was a time she could not visit a mall or see other babies being pushed in a pram because of the trauma, it would take her back to that day.

“She has to deal with the trauma of her children being murdered in front of her. Domestic violence is a pandemic.”

Candice van Reenen of the Department of Correctional Services said they would not comment on the victim -offender dialogue (VOD).

“Correctional Services can confirm that the inmate will have a parole hearing in December 2023, following his further profile received in 2022.

“In consideration of the victims, we are not able to confirm matters relating to the victim offender dialogue.”

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Weekend Argus