His mother again tried to intervene but he pushed her and again slapped Van Wyk with an open hand, after which she fell to the ground
“SHE DID not want to listen.” This was what a Northern Cape man told his mother after he assaulted his girlfriend.
The Northern Cape High court yesterday found Benjamin Lottering, 42, guilty of murder with dolus eventualis (legal intention) for killing his girlfriend, Jacoline van Wyk, 37, on the evening of January 27, 2019.
The incident occurred at the parental home of Lottering in Niekerkshoop after the couple apparently had an argument over a phone call from an unknown number.
Van Wyk died as a result of a combination of head injuries and suffocation following the assault.
Lottering told the court that he was in a relationship with Van Wyk and they were living together at the time.
He said that on the evening of the incident they were at home and Van Wyk received three phone calls from an unknown number. He said Van Wyk did not answer the calls but he could see that the calls were from an unknown number.
According to Lottering, Van Wyk answered the call when the phone rang for the fourth time and he could hear a male voice on the other end of the phone.
He said Van Wyk immediately switched her phone off.
Lottering said he asked Van Wyk who she had spoken to on the phone and she ran outside to his mother’s house. He said he followed her as he suspected she was hiding something and he could hear her telling his mother to talk to him.
He again asked her who had phoned and she went into the living room.
Lottering’s mother tried to intervene and stood between him and Van Wyk but he managed to get past her and slapped Van Wyk with an open hand.
His mother again tried to intervene but he pushed her and again slapped Van Wyk with an open hand, after which she fell to the ground.
Lottering said he assaulted her and pulled her up by the neck and then threw her to the ground.
He admitted that he used extreme force to assault the deceased as he was very angry at the time.
Lottering added that he did not even see a blood splatter on the wall as he was blinded by anger.
The post-mortem found that Van Wyk had suffered injuries to her neck, face, a combination of head and brain injuries and her lungs had collapsed. The suffocation was caused by strangulation and swelling of the brain.
The port-mortem also found that Van Wyk’s brain had shifted to the right and had severe swelling. The bruising to the scalp and swelling was caused by blunt trauma.
Lottering’s lawyer, Heinrich Steynberg, told the court that although the accused used severe force during the assault, he could not foresee that slapping Van Wyk with an open hand could lead to her death.
Steynberg said that Lottering had negligently caused the death of Van Wyk and that he shoud be convicted on a charge of culpible homicide and not murder.
Acting Judge Noenoe Sieberhagen conceded that Lottering did not have direct intent to kill Van Wyk but said that his actions led to Van Wyk’s death.
“The accused repeatedly assaulted the deceased, so much so that her brain shifted. The deceased tried blocking the accused but was unsuccessful. The accused admitted to using extreme force and throwing the deceased to the ground with force. He did not stop when his mother tried to intervene and stop him. Although the accused indicated that he was very angry at the time, he did not say that he did not recall what had occurred. He could remember everything as it happened and there is no evidence before the court that he does not have a normal memory. There is also no evidence that the accused did not think that the assault could lead to the death of the deceased,” said Sieberhagen.
The case was postponed for pre-sentencing arguments.