19 November 2012

Namibia: Massacre Convict to Appeal

Windhoek — Multi-murder convict, Gavin Beukes, wants to lodge an appeal against his conviction on murder in July last year.

Beukes and his brother Sylvester were convicted of the murder of eight people, including a pregnant woman and children in March 5, 2005 and sentenced to a combined record jail term of 670 years.

Gavin, who the Judge President Petrus Damaseb found to have acted with a common purpose with his brother who admitted to the murders, was sentenced to a total of 275 years, but if calculated with the number of years to run concurrently, comes to 84 years.

Justus 'Shorty' Erasmus, the son of the owners of the Farm Kareeboomvloer who were two of the eight victims was eventually cleared by the Judge President after he was implicated by Sylvester Beukes as being the 'mastermind' behind the massacre.

The victims were the farm owners, 50-year-old Justus and Elzabé Erasmus, an employee of theirs, 35-year-old Sunnybooi Swartbooi, Swartbooi's 32-year-old pregnant partner, Hilma Engelbrecht, their children six-year-old Christina Engelbrecht and four-year-old Regina Gertze, Swartbooi's brother, 55-year-old Settie Swartbooi and a relative of Hilma Engelbrecht, 18-year-old Deon Gertze.

During sentencing, Judge President Damaseb described the murders as "particularly cruel and brutal" since five of the victims were set on fire after they were shot, and it was later established during the autopsy that some of them were still alive when they were set alight.

The appeal application was postponed to January next year for Beukes to apply for legal aid.

Defence lawyer Titus Mbaeva appeared for Gavin Beukes during the trial, while Antonia Verhoef prosecuted.

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