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Brutal killer gets life

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Du Toit’s body was found lying next to her vehicle on a dirt road, she had been bludgeoned to death with rocks

Jan Esterhuise

A 41-YEAR-old Northern Cape man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of Riana du Toit, a single mother of two who was “beaten beyond recognition” with rocks on a dirt road near Sutherland last year.

Jan Esterhuise, a farmworker from Sutherland, was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment after not only being convicted of Du Toit’s murder but also of robbery with aggravating circumstances, for stealing her cellphone and a bunch of grapes on the day of the incident.

Du Toit’s body was found lying next to her vehicle on a dirt road between Sutherland and Merweville on February 6, 2018. She had been bludgeoned to death with rocks

She was on her way to Rogge Cloof Guest Farm, where she worked as a customer liaison and public relations officer, from her farm Bak-Oond.

Her body was discovered by colleagues from Rogge Kloof Guest Farm, who went to look for her when she did not arrive for work that morning.

At the time, they described her head injuries as “extremely severe” and noted that she had been “injured beyond recognition’’.

During sentencing on Friday, Judge Alme Stanton said that Esterhuise had been found guilty of “very serious” charges, adding that the crimes were so serious that minimum sentences applied.

She found that Esterhuise had “to this day” not shown any remorse for the violent crime he committed.

Stanton indicated that a victim impact report had illustrated the “severe and lasting effect” the murder had on Du Toit’s family and friends, with her two young children losing their mother “at a vulnerable age”.

“In your evidence you conceded that Du Toit was a very good woman and you knew her well. She was the victim of your senseless, violent act,” Stanton told Esterhuise.

The court accepted Esterhuise’s version that he had first attacked the deceased with two rocks and when he saw she did not die, he then took a bigger rock and threw it on her head.

Stanton found “no substantial or compelling circumstances” to justify a deviation from imposing the prescribed minimum sentences.

“Your violent and senseless conduct warrants the most severe penalty,” Stanton told Esterhuise.

She sentenced him to life imprisonment for the murder and 15 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated robbery.

Stanton ordered that the two sentences run concurrently.