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Abusive relationship ’no justification’ for brutal murder of Pofadder Hotel owner – judge

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While the court took into account the years of abuse that Suretha Brits suffered at the hands of her husband, it pointed out that her circumstances do not lessen the seriousness of the brutal murder of her husband, Leon Brits.

Suretha Brits was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for the murder of her husband Leon Brits after entering into a plea and sentence agreement. Picture: Supplied

WHILE the court took into account the years of abuse that Suretha Brits, 31, suffered at the hands of her husband, it pointed out that her circumstances do not lessen the seriousness of the brutal murder of her husband, Leon Brits, 41.

Suretha was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment on charges of murder and 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances in the Northern Cape High Court, Gariep local circuit division in Upington on Monday after she entered into a plea and sentence agreement.

The sentences will run concurrently.

In her judgment, Northern Cape High Court Judge Mpho Mamosebo pointed out that Suretha’s circumstances did not make the offence “any less serious or horrendous”.

“The offences were planned and premeditated. It must be considered in view of the prevalence of violent crime in this country. The deceased was lured to his home, a place where he had the right to feel safe, whereafter he was brutally killed,” said Judge Mamosebo.

She added that the couple’s three young children – a daughter of 12 and twin boys who are 10 years old – would have to grow up without their father and mother as Suretha would be incarcerated for a long time.

“The impact of the long-endured manipulation and abuse, together with the traumatic injuries, caused serious psychological damages, although not to the extent that the accused had any legal justification for causing the deceased to be robbed and killed. However, it explains the psychological and physical turmoil she was subjected to from a very young age.

“She was unable to escape the web of dominance and abuse and took a very wrong decision that not only caused the death of her husband but destroyed her life and that of her children.”

Judge Mamosebo believed that the accused had the potential to be rehabilitated, where as a first-offender she showed remorse and accepted responsibility for her actions.

“Although no justification, the planned murder was the consequence of years of manipulation, abusive dominance and assault starting at the age of 14 when the accused had an immature defence system to handle the attentions of the deceased, who was much older than her at the time.”

Judge Mamosebo said that by admitting the truth, it would assist her children in overcoming the tragedy and hardship that befell them.

“By admitting the offences, close family members and friends of both the deceased and the accused are spared the stress and trauma of testifying in the trial.”

It was noted in the plea agreement that the accused’s mother, who would have had to testify during the trial, was elderly and was “not in full control of her faculties”.

“It would therefore not be reasonable to afford her the opportunity to make representations to the prosecutor regarding the contents of the plea and sentence agreement.”

During his plea agreement, Jacques van Vuuren, who was approached by Suretha to facilitate the murder, had indicated that he collected a parcel containing cash from her mother’s house in Marchand, Kakamas on September 13, 2020.

The regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Mojalefa Senokoatsane, said the trial of Suretha’s co-accused, Enrich Williams and Amantle Bareki, would start on November 22.

The trial of Brits’ co-accused, Enrich Williams and Amantle Bareki, will start on November 22. Picture: Supplied

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