32 years for killing girlfriend

31 January 2018 | Justice

A man convicted of housebreaking with intent to murder, and murder read in conjunction with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, has been sentenced to 32 years' imprisonment.

Eben Cloete (40) murdered his girlfriend, Anna Nadia Coetzee (27), on 13 August 2009 by stabbing her eight times with a knife in her parents' home at the then Neudamm Research Station.

During the trial, it was learnt that when Coetzee saw Cloete approaching her, she ran into her bedroom and locked the door.

Cloete broke open the door, entered the room and attacked her. He fled after stabbing her to death.

Judge Dinnah Usiku said domestic violence is regarded as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

She added that such offences are prevalent in the country and the courts have a duty to protect victims against domestic violence.

“The manner in which the offence was committed is aggravating,” she emphasised.

She said the court, when sentencing, is required to weigh the crime committed and the interests of society against the personal circumstances of the convict, while also taking into account any mitigating and aggravating factors.

“When sentencing the court has a duty to exercise its own discretion as it finds appropriate in the circumstances of each particular case,” Usiku emphasised.

She added that when society views a crime as abhorrent, the sentence should reflect such abhorrence.

“The sanctity of life is a fundamental human right enshrined into law by the constitution and must be respected and protected by all. In my view it is not only the accused who must be deterred by a heavy sentence but others too,” Usiku said.