‘I killed the mother of my child’

‘He will pay for this aw­ful crime’

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - BENIDA PHILLIPS STAFF RE­PORTER

THE DIS­POSAL of a body by burn­ing it be­yond recog­ni­tion could be viewed as an act even more se­vere than the ac­tual mur­der. This was the sen­ti­ment ex­pressed by Kim­ber­ley Re­gional Court Mag­is­trate, Ver­non Smith, dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing of Den­nis Septem­ber, who pleaded guilty to killing and burn­ing Sesh­ney Blaauw, his for­mer girl­friend and mother of his sev­enyear-old son, in 2015.

Septem­ber was sen­tenced to 13 years im­pris­on­ment for mur­der and a fur­ther seven years im­pris­on­ment for a charge of dis­posal of the body af­ter he set it alight. Septem­ber yes­ter­day ad­mit­ted, in his plea state­ment which was read in court prior to his sen­tenc­ing, that he killed Blaauw by stran­gling her and later dump­ing her body as well as set­ting it alight.

The charred body of the de­ceased was found by il­le­gal min­ers next to the Ke­nil­worth Ceme­tery, close to Beef­mas­ter on Oc­to­ber 27 2015.

The court heard that il­le­gal min­ers, who came across the body, were not sure whether it was hu­man re­mains or a doll that had been burnt. The ac­cused was ar­rested on Novem­ber 11 2015 af­ter a foren­sic em­ployee at the mor­tu­ary heard that Septem­ber had pointed the badly burnt body of the de­ceased out to a fam­ily mem­ber.

Septem­ber, in his state­ment read by his lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Sakkie Nel, said that the in­ci­dent hap­pened af­ter he wanted to talk to Blaauw about their son.

“The ac­cused and I were in a re­la­tion­ship and have a seven-yearold son. Our re­la­tion­ship ended in 2015 and I later dated an­other woman to whom I be­came en­gaged. The de­ceased and her sis­ter tried ev­ery­thing to sep­a­rate me from my son.

“That re­sulted in me suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion and I tried to com­mit FAM­ILY mem­bers of Sash­ney Blaauw, whose burnt body was dis­cov­ered next to the Ke­nil­worth Ceme­tery, have ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the 20-year sen­tence handed down to her for­mer boyfriend and fa­ther of her child.

Den­nis Septem­ber was yes­ter­day sen­tenced to 13 years im­pris­on­ment for the mur­der of Blauuw and a fur­ther seven years for dis­pos­ing of her body by burn­ing it.

Septem­ber was ac­cused of the crime, to­gether with his fi­ance, Kenny-Lee Kruger, who pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The case against Kruger will con­tinue in the Kim­ber­ley Mag­is­trate’s Court to­day af­ter their tri­als were sep­a­rated be­cause Septem­ber pleaded guilty.

sui­cide on two oc­ca­sions about three weeks be­fore the in­ci­dent. I was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal for my de­pres­sion,” he said.

He added that Blaauw did not want him to be with his son, es­pe­cially when his fi­ance was present.

“On the day of the in­ci­dent I had planned to dis­cuss my son in the pres­ence of my fi­ance. The de­ceased and my fi­ance met each other at the clinic. I picked them up in my car and we all went to my shanty in Ivory Park. When we ar­rived at the shanty, the de­ceased went to sit on the bed. I asked her what was wrong with my fi­ance and why she would not al­low me see my child,” Septem­ber said.

He stated that Blaauw screamed at him and he be­came an­gry.

“I started to stran­gle her with both my hands. I re­alised she had be­came weak and it ap­peared as if she was not breath­ing. I felt her pulse and there was noth­ing. I then re­alised that she was dead. I hid the body un­der the bed be­cause I did not know what to do and I was afraid.”

Later that night he dumped her body out­side the city and set it alight.

“I was afraid and did not know

The fam­ily said they had found it dif­fi­cult to find clo­sure and were wor­ried about the im­pact the mur­der would have on Blaauw’s seven-yearold child.

“We are happy that he will pay for this aw­ful crime. One day, when the child is older, he (the ac­cused) will have to ex­plain his rea­sons for tak­ing the life of the boy’s mother,” they said. They added that, al­though they at­tempted to keep the in­ci­dent from the child, it had been dif­fi­cult to do so.

“The child keeps ask­ing about his mother. We tell him that she is with Je­sus, but he keeps on ask­ing why she can­not come home to visit him. That breaks our hearts be­cause he is too young to un­der­stand. We also have tried to keep

what to do with the body. My fi­ance and I were ar­rested a few days af­ter the in­ci­dent. Af­ter we ap­peared in court, I told the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer that I wanted to tell a mag­is­trate about what had hap­pened that night. I then con­fessed.”

Septem­ber also pointed out the scene where the body was dumped the next day to a po­lice cap­tain.

“I re­alise that I killed the mother of my child and I am sorry for that. I want to apol­o­gise to my child, my fam­ily and the fam­ily of the de­ceased for all the heartache. I also want to apol­o­gise to my fi­ance for in­volv­ing her in this in­ci­dent,” the state­ment read.

Nel, dur­ing pre-sen­tenc­ing pro­ce­dures, asked the court to de­vi­ate from the pre­scribed min­i­mum sen­tence of 15 years and not to fo­cus too much on how the body was dis­posed.

“The rea­son the ac­cused met with the de­ceased on the day (of the in­ci­dent) was to dis­cuss their son. That dis­cus­sion went wrong. He later burnt the body as he did not know what to do with it. The ac­cused, how­ever, later ad­mit­ted to the crime and that is a sign of re­morse. That is a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor. There is no pre­scribed sen­tence for the cir­cum­stances and de­tails of her death from him, but other chil­dren have asked him how it feels when your fa­ther has killed your mother. He then, in turn, asks us and we have tried to change the topic,” they said.

The fam­ily also in­di­cated that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween them and the fam­ily of the ac­cused was not good. “There is cur­rently no re­la­tion­ship be­tween us. We have been tak­ing care of the child. We un­der­stand that they are an­gry be­cause they also want to pro­tect their son.

“We have, how­ever, lost some­one per­ma­nently while they can still see their son. We can for­give, but we will never be able to for­get. We now leave ev­ery­thing in the hands of God,” they said.

dis­pos­ing of a body.

“The rea­son be­hind the burn­ing of the body was merely be­cause the ac­cused did not know what to do with the body and he was afraid at the time,” Nel said.

He added that the cir­cum­stances be­hind the crime it­self were or­di­nary. “If one sub­tracts the burn­ing of the body from the in­ci­dent as a whole, the crime is ac­tu­ally just a ‘nor­mal’ mur­der,” he said.

Nel also said that the time the ac­cused was in cus­tody should be viewed as a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor. “The ac­cused has been in cus­tody await­ing trial for the past two years. He is a first of­fender. It is also ev­i­dent that emo­tions played a role in the in­ci­dent.

“The ac­cused pleaded guilty and has shown re­morse for his ac­tions. All these fac­tors should be viewed as mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors,” said Nel.

The State, rep­re­sented by Ad­vo­cate Sue-Ann Wey­ers-Ger­icke, ar­gued that the burn­ing of the body de­prived the fam­ily of an op­por­tu­nity to have a proper funeral.

“The de­ceased was re­ported miss­ing by the fam­ily. The fam­ily had to go through the trauma of search­ing for the de­ceased. The ac­cused even in­quired from them whether they had any news of her where­abouts. The fam­ily later had to go and iden­tify a body that was burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion.

“Po­lice had to take DNA sam­ples from the child of the de­ceased which were matched with DNA from the re­mains. That en­tire process was very trau­matic, not only for the fam­ily but also for those who came across the body,” Wey­ers-Ger­icke said.

She added that the ac­cused had am­ple time to re­port the mat­ter to po­lice af­ter­wards.

“The ac­cused could have re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice af­ter he had stran­gled the de­ceased. He did not do that and con­tin­ued to hide her body and later burnt it.”

She said the in­ci­dent has had a neg­a­tive im­pact on the fam­ily as well as the child of the de­ceased. “This child has been robbed of both his par­ents. How will a child ever get over the fact that his fa­ther mur­dered his mother? The fam­ily of the de­ceased in­di­cated that the child con­tin­u­ously asks for his mother. The chil­dren also tease him by telling him that his fa­ther killed his mother,” she said.

Smith, dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing, said the ac­cused had am­ple time to stop the se­quence of his ac­tions

“The ac­cused stran­gled the de­ceased with his bare hands. He did not stop there but went on to dis­pose of the body by burn­ing it un­til it was un­recog­nis­able. Judg­ing from the crime, the man­ner in which the ac­cused tried to dis­pose of the body is even more se­vere than that of stran­gu­la­tion.

“The ac­cused did not play open cards with au­thor­i­ties from the out­set. He only con­fessed af­ter he was ar­rested. The dis­posal can­not be viewed as part of the mur­der due to the sever­ity thereof. Im­pos­ing a light sen­tence on such a crime will be grossly ir­re­spon­si­ble for the court and how we are sup­posed to treat each other,” he said.

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