Slain wife’s whirlwind of trauma
Woman gunned down at Pollsmoor after marriage hits the rocks
THE LAST few months of Marilyn Dietrich’s life had been a whirlwind of trauma which landed her in hospital, but just as she was on the road to recovery, she was allegedly gunned down by her prison warder husband.
Last Friday, Dietrich was “happy” and in a better space than she had been for a while, family members said. She then went to collect money from her husband Johan, who worked at Pollsmoor Prison, and was gunned down at the prison gates.
The couple had been going through a rough patch, with Marilyn having filed a court interdict against her husband after he allegedly physically threatened her and their sons Mayen and Juhane.
The 43-year-old woman told close friends that an “emotional” call from her husband last Friday made her feel “uneasy”, but she went to see him at work to collect money.
Johan, 44, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday for the murder of his wife. This was a day before he was due to appear on charges of domestic violence relating to an earlier case this year.
Friends and relatives, who declined to be named, said the couple weren’t going through a divorce as previously reported. They said Marilyn still wanted to salvage the family.
A work colleague said: “She had a traumatising relationship but he was never physically abusive until recently. Things just got out of control. She was a people’s person, and that was the basic flaw in the relationship, because he was an introvert.
“She was very much for her children. She made sure they had everything they needed and she was a very doting mother.”
On New Year’s Eve, after an incident at their Lotus River home, she applied for an interdict barring her husband from her and the children.
This was the start of a turn for the worse for the family.
“He came here at 2am on New Year’s Eve and she had to flee with the children. There was another incident and she applied for the interdict. The last incident was the trauma that caused her to go into early labour when she was only seven months pregnant,” a friend said.
Her baby did not survive as his lungs were not properly developed.
“She was extremely happy in the last few weeks, except when she had to see him. She wasn’t working and he stopped contributing financially to the family’s needs, so he made her financially dependent on him and would always ask her to come and fetch the money. It made her very anxious because it was more about seeing her,” a friend said.
Last Friday she received a phone call from her husband asking her to fetch money at Pollsmoor.
“She called me to say she was 10 minutes away from Pollsmoor and still joked, saying, ‘keep the flying squad ready’. Little did we know that that’s what was needed,” her colleague said.
A few minutes later the couple’s son Mayen called his mother’s colleague to say he had received a call saying his father had shot his mother. When he got confirmation, he had to turn around on his way to his Port Elizabeth holiday.
Inspector Rodney Franks, from the Kirstenhof police, said Johan’s interdict was to have been made per manent this Tuesday, and added that he should never have been allowed onto the street.
“He was declared unfit to carry a firearm even while on duty after a few hearings with Correctional Services. I can confirm that he asked for counselling and mediation between him and his wife,” Franks said.
He said police very concer ned about this type of crime, especially during Women’s Month, when they had various talks and interventions for men to be mindful of a relationship with a spouse and to seek counselling.
Franks added: “This should never have happened.”
Johan is due in court on Monday again, while his wife is to be buried in Grassy Park today.
TRAGEDY: Marilyn Dietrich, 43, was gunned down in front of Pollsmoor Prison last Friday. Her prison warder husband Johan has appeared in court.