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South Africa Legal Information Institute (SAFLII)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA
(WESTERN CAPE HIGH COURT, CAPE TOWN)
CASE NUMBER: SS05/2011
DATE: 16 FEBRUARY 2012
In the matter between:
GARY JOEL KOOPMAN
On 14 June 2010 at about quarter past six in the morning, Mrs Elizabeth Kroese and her daughter, Ms Suzette Strydom, left their home at 108 Weimar Street, Parow, to go to work. Mrs Kroese lived in the main house and her daughter lived in a flatlet adjoining the house, together with the accused, Mr Koopman. When they left for work, Mrs Kroese’s second daughter, Nicolene and her friend, Stefani Gouws, who had slept over that night, were left behind in the main house, Mr Koopman remained in the flatlet. All those left behind were asleep when they were last seen by Mrs Kroese and Ms Strydom.
Later that day at about 4:15 p.m., Mrs Kroese and Ms Strydom returned home from work. Upon entering the house, Mrs Kroese discovered the body of Nicolene on a sleeper-couch in the sitting-room. She had been strangled and was dead. Mrs Kroese screamed for help. Ms Strydom came to her assistance. When in the main house, Ms Strydom saw the body of Ms Gouws lying in a pool of blood on the floor in the passage. She had been stabbed nine times. One of the stab wounds had resulted in the severing of her carotid artery, causing massive and rapid loss of blood. She was also dead.
Mr Koopman was asleep in the flatlet when Suzette and Mrs Koopman roused him after their horrifying discovery. He appeared to be extremely drowsy, almost drugged. When told about the bodies of Nicolene and Ms Gouws, Mr Koopman told them that there had been a lot of blood which he had tried to clean up. He had taken a large number of sleeping pills and antidepressants in an apparent attempt to commit suicide.
Mr Koopman was arrested the same day. He was subsequently charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances arising out of the fact that he had in his possession R700.00 which had belonged to Ms Gouws (count 1); with a contravention of section 3 of Act 32 of 2007, namely the rape of Ms Kroese (count 2); and with the murders of both Ms Kroese (count 3) and Ms Gouws (count 4). He pleaded not guilty to the robbery and the rape charges and guilty to the two murder charges.
“Statement in terms of section 112(2) of Act 51 of 1977: I, Gary Joel Koopman, state as follows:
… I admit that on 14 June 2010 and at 108 Weimar Street, Parow, in the district of Bellville and within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, I unlawfully and intentionally killed Nicolene Kroese, an adult female person, by strangling her with a rope.
(d) On the morning of 14 June 2010 I was in the house with Stefani Gouws and Nicolene Kroese. On the previous day my girlfriend Suzette Strydom, told me that she wanted me to leave. As a result, on the morning of the 14th I decided that I was going to kill myself, but that I was not going alone, Suzette should also suffer. I decided that I was going to kill Nicolene Kroese to get back at Suzette. Nicolene was Suzette’s sister.
(e) Stefani went to sleep in Nicolene’s room and Nicolene and I started talking about sex and sexual bondage. We were in the lounge on the sleeper-couch. I got up and went to fetch a rope (used for acts of bondage) and a book on bondage. Nicolene and I decided that we were going to do sexual bondage. I tied Nicolene’s wrists together with the rope behind her back, around her body and around her neck. During sexual intercourse, I tightened the rope around Nicolene’s neck. When we do acts of bondage, we use a word to indicate that we must back off. She said the word, but I did not back off and continued to strangle her. I realised that I was killing her and decided that this was the opportunity to do so. She died as a result of the strangulation. I do not dispute the injury to her face, as indicated in the post-mortem report, but cannot remember how it took place. I admit that I had the intention to kill Nicolene and that I had decided to do so prior to the incident,
(f) After the incident involving Stefani Gouws, which I describe below, I took a handful of antidepressant tablets and sleeping pills. I tried to clean the blood off the floor with water and I hung the rope up in the bathroom. I also telephoned Margaux Brandt, but do not recall the content of the conversation. The effect of the pills was that I started feeling drowsy, sleepy and numb and I have problems remembering some of the events that took place. I, however, remember the events I have related clearly and admit that my actions were wrongful; that I was fully aware that my actions were wrongful during the incident and that I committed the crime of murder. I admit that I had no right to act as I did.
(9) I admit the following facts:
(a) I admit that on 14 June 2010 and at 108 Weimar Street Parow, in the district of BelIville and within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, I unlawfully and intentionally killed Stefani Gouws, an adult female person, by stabbing her repeatedly with a knife.
(b) I admit that the cause of death, as indicated in the post-mortem report as “penetrating incised wounds of the neck and chest and the consequences thereof” is correct and that the death was caused by me…
The state contended that the murders were premeditated. There is no doubt that it has proved this in respect of the murder of Nicolene. In regard to the murder of Ms Gouws, however, we are unable to find that this was the case. There is no evidence of any prior planning by Mr Koopman of the murder of Ms Gouws. The fact that the murder took place on the spur of the moment, cannot be excluded and we must thus find that her murder was not premeditated.
In the result, Mr Koopman is CONVICTED IN RESPECT OF COUNTS 3 AND 4, the two murder charges and ACQUITTED ON COUNTS 1 AND 2.