Trading Posts

Franziska's parents share pain as killer cries

Franziska Blochliger's parents shared their "indescribable" pain in a letter read out in court, while accused Howard Oliver had tears streaming down his face when Judge Kate Savage found him guilty on all four charges on Wednesday.
Silence in the Western Cape High Court courtroom was broken each time the 24-year-old sniffed and wiped the tears from his face. His family in the gallery was also crying during the judgment.
Oliver had pleaded guilty to two charges of rape, a charge of robbery and the murder of the 16-year-old girl.
Beforehand, a letter (watch full letter in video) from Shireen and Andreas Blochliger was read out in aggravation of sentence.
"The loss of a child is almost indescribable," the letter read. "There’s pain, there’s sadness, there’s anguish but acceptance is the hardest.
"To know that our child suffered and needed us, that is the most devastating. The loss of a child is a traumatic experience; you lose a piece of yourself that can never be regained."
The parents wrote that they had moved homes and schools and were receiving counselling. The death of their daughter had impacted on their marriage due to "feelings of blame and guilt".
"There can never be any justification for taking her life. We only hope that the person responsible for this brutal act of violence against an innocent child is NOT ALLOWED to walk free to hurt another person," the parents wrote.
Franziska was murdered and raped on March 7, 2016, after separating from her family on a run in Tokai Forest. Apart from double rape, she was also robbed of a cellphone, diamond ring and earphones.
The judge ruled: "The brutal attack perpetrated by the accused toon Franziska Blochliger, a teenager deeply loved by those around her, was shocking, unprovoked and senseless. The accused senselessly robbed the deceased of her constitutional right to life, her right to bodily integrity and her right as a child to be protected from maltreatment, abuse and degradation."
She said fact that the accused had indicated to his boss his intent to rob someone for money and roam around the area showed his "clear election to carry out his plan".
"He robbed the family and society of a young vibrant life full of possibility. Through his conduct he again made plain to this court the urgency to which our society needs to act to protect women and children across all communities," Judge Savage said.
State prosecutor Lenro Badenhorst said Oliver had 10 previous convictions including assault, robbery and possession of drugs. He said he had shown no remorse.
"The accused wrote a letter in April 2016 where he expressed remorse. Although he did express remorse then, the bottom line is that in May 2017 he still pleaded not guilty and denied that he was involved in the rape and murder of the girl. He took a chance pointing fingers at other people.
"I want to submit that through the thorough investigation of the police, they managed to arrest the correct perpetrator. We know he walked away from the scene with the cellphone of the deceased," Badenhorst said.
He said Oliver had pointed fingers at others, but not himself.
"There are no substantial and compelling circumstances for this court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences.
"Both parents of this girl attended counselling and the sister of the deceased also attended counselling. This is an addition to the loss for the parents."
In confessing to his crimes, Oliver had said: “When I grabbed the deceased from behind, I went for her neck so as to prevent her from making any noise and to demobilise her immediately.
"My legal representative explained to me that the post-mortem indicates that the hyoid bone in the deceased’s neck was fractured and I confirm that I used enough force that I could have fractured same.”
He continued to say that he dragged her body into the fynbos nearby as this explains the abrasions on her body as described in the post-mortem.
Oliver also admitted to going through the process of removing the deceased's cellphone, earphones and ring, and tying a shoelace around her hands and mouth before raping her.
“I positioned her body by placing her chest and head into the sand with her buttocks in the air. As I was doing this, I removed all her clothing. I pulled my pants down and proceeded to place my penis in her private parts.
'As I pushed my penis into her private part, I found it difficult to penetrate her but continued. As I found it difficult to rape her, I pulled my penis out and discovered that I had penetrated her anally.
"I then placed my penis into her vagina and raped her. After raping her I got dressed.”
He said that he discovered she wasn’t breathing after he wanted to leave her and go.
“I confirm that I throttled her when I grabbed her from behind and that whilst I raped her, I pushed her face into the sand which probably caused her death.”
Regional National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the NPA welcomed Oliver's conviction.
"The conviction is one major step towards ensuring that Howard Oliver is sentenced to a long prison term that will ensure that he does not get an opportunity to hurt any other woman, person or child again.
"We hope this sends a very clear message that the NPA will do whatever is in its power within the confines of the law to ensure that crimes against women and children continue being prioritised," he said.
Sentencing continues on Thursday.

No comments