The family had hoped for a life sentence.
WHILE the family of Ridhwaan Mackay wanted Christopher Ortell to be served a life sentence for his murder, they believe that the 13 year term of direct imprisonment that was handed down in the Northern Cape High Court on Thursday will help to bring closure, following his death four years ago.
Ortell entered into a plea agreement where he pleaded guilty to the murder and theft of a Samsung cellphone.
Family members burst into tears during sentencing procedures on Thursday.
Riaan Mackay pointed out that the bereaved family would not be able to withstand having to relive the details of his son’s gruesome death during the trial.
“There is nothing that can bring back my son. There were only two witnesses in the case and they are friends of the accused so there were no guarantees that the accused would be given a harsher sentence as he is young and is a first offender. The matter has been ongoing for the past four years.”
He stated that his family was dealt a double blow following the death of Ridhwaan’s mother.
“She lost the will to live as they were very close – he was her everything. I managed to identify my son from his feet because his body and face were burnt beyond recognition and he was in an advanced stage of decomposition when he was eventually found. I have been denied the opportunity of growing old in his presence and seeing what he would do with his life in the future.”
Riaan added that Ridhwaan was school friends with the accused.
“They attended the same school. I do not believe that my son had turned to drugs after undergoing rehabilitation or that he was armed with a knife because he never hurt a fly in his life.”
Family members stated that Ridhwaan had returned home for two weeks after undergoing drug rehabilitation when he was murdered.
“We were convinced that he was getting his life back on track. He was in charge of a gym and had come to realise the devastation that drugs can cause. He no longer wanted to be out late at night or be involved in the wrong things. We still joked with him that he was a changed person when he bought bread and handed back all the change.”
They added that the keys to the Golf GTI that Ridhwaan was driving, that was later found abandoned in West End following the incident, had never been recovered.
“We do not believe that the accused is remorseful for his actions. He has never apologised to the family. We searched for Ridhwaan for a week. After he was reported missing a message was sent from his cellphone reassuring his mother that he was at Langleg over the Easter weekend. We were worried sick before we found out that his body was burnt and abandoned in the veld.”