Home South African Trusted handyman gets 65 years for murder, rape and robbery

Trusted handyman gets 65 years for murder, rape and robbery

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Having needed money to buy drugs, he left with R200 in cash and two cellphones – one of which he sold for R100, the other he discarded.

Beaufort West residents protest against femicide in the small town following the murder of Anthea Thopps. Picture: Dominic Adriaanse

CAPE TOWN – A five-year-old boy will grow up without a mother after a handyman she trusted choked her until she was unconscious, then raped Anthea Thopps and left a shoelace tightly tied around her neck when he departed.

Having needed money to buy drugs, he left with R200 in cash and two cellphones – one of which he sold for R100, the other he discarded.

On Monday, the High Court sitting at the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court sentenced Jacobus Plaaitjies to 25 years’ imprisonment for murder, 25 years for rape, 10 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and five years for housebreaking with intent to steal and theft.

The court ordered that all the sentences run concurrently, effectively sentencing Plaatjies to 65 years’ imprisonment.

During the plea bargain finalisation, the accused told the court that he spent the day – July 21, 2019 – smoking tik and mandrax with friends, the National Prosecuting Authority regional communications manager, Eric Ntabazalila, said in a statement on Tuesday.

’’That evening he needed money to buy more drugs and remembered that Margaretha Anthea Thopps had an amplifier which he could steal and sell.

’’Plaaitjies knew Thopps and her family very well. He did repair work at her house and spent some evenings at her home to ensure her safety,“ Ntabazalila said.

’’He dug a hole in a weakened wooden structure which he was aware of due to repairing it on a previous occasion and entered the house through the kitchen. The deceased heard the noise and recognised Plaaitjies from the light from a street that was shining inside the house.

’’He dragged her to the living room, covered her mouth and choked her until she lost consciousness.

’’He raped her and then took her handbag and her two cellphones. Before he left, he tied tight a shoelace around her neck.

’’He found R200 cash in the handbag, which he used to buy more drugs. He burnt the handbag and the rest of its contents he burnt out at a later stage whilst smoking drugs with friends in the veld.

’’He sold one cellphone for R100 and discarded the other in the veld.

The prosecutor, advocate Carine Teunissen, told the court that the offences were inherently serious.

“Gender-based violence is an ongoing concern in the country. The accused severely assaulted the deceased by choking her until she was unconscious and tied a shoelace around her neck. He proceeded to rape her whilst she was unconscious.

’’Amongst the facts to be considered are the young child, a five-year-old boy, who will grow up without a mother, the grief and anger of her immediate family, and the shock of the community,” she argued.