Durban barman gets life in jail for murdering woman and flatmate
A DURBAN High Court judge yesterday sentenced barman Gordon van Niekerk to life imprisonment for the murders of Norwegian national Annicke Thofte and her flatmate Danie Robbertze last year.
Van Niekerk had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of murder, robbery, housebreaking and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition last year.
In his plea, Van Niekerk, 23, said he had been at the 8th Avenue, Morningside, flat shared by Robbertze and Thofte on May 26 last year. Both had fallen asleep and he had seen this as an opportunity to rob them “in order to raise money to start a new life”. He said Robbertze had woken up and he had shot and stabbed him.
He had panicked and shot and stabbed Thofte, before stealing various items from the flat, including a laptop, digital camera and CDs, and fleeing in Thofte’s car.
Yesterday, Van Niekerk held his head in his hands when Judge Sharmaine Balton sentenced him to life for each count of murder, 15 years for the robbery, eight years for the housebreaking, three years for the unlawful possession of a firearm and 18 months for the unlawful possession of ammunition. All the sentences will run concurrently with the life sentences.
Speaking in mitigation of sentence yesterday, social worker Dombi Kwela testified that Van Niekerk had shown remorse for his actions.
In aggravation of sentence, state advocate Rea Mina said that the murders had been premeditated.
“The worst part is that these were his friends,” said Mina.
Handing down judgment, Judge Balton said the murders had been “brutal and callous”.
The judge also dismissed an application for leave to appeal against the sentence.