Rehab camp teen killer jailed for 25 years

JUSTICE SERVED: Alex de Koker, left, and Michael Erasmus in court in February - Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS
JUSTICE SERVED: Alex de Koker, left, and Michael Erasmus in court in February – Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS

REHAB camp murderer Alex de Koker has received a longer sentence than the required minimum for killing his teenage charge to teach child abusers a lesson.

Sentencing De Koker yesterday in the Vereeniging Regional Court, magistrate Retha Willemse said: “This sentence must send a message that this [abuse] towards children will not be tolerated.”

But Michael Erasmus, also convicted of the murder alongside De Koker, received a stern warning and just three years of correctional supervision.

De Koker, who ran the military-style Echo Wild Game Rangers training camp near Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg, received an effective 25 years for the abuse and murder of Raymond Buys, 15, and the assault of another trainee, Gerhard Oosthuizen. De Koker, 49, and his right-hand man, Erasmus, 22, were found guilty on February 27.

De Koker will serve 20 years for murder, five for child abuse and two years for assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm. The child abuse and assault sentences will run concurrently.

“The deceased was a defenceless child. He had 61 injuries and was mutilated over a period of time. You had more than enough time to come to your senses,” Willemse said to De Koker.

“You showed no remorse but instead chose to put the blame on Erasmus.”

She spoke to Erasmus saying that he was 18 years old at the time, did not have De Koker’s emotional and intellectual maturity and therefore could not be held equally responsible.

Erasmus will be under house arrest and 24-hour monitoring for the next three years.

If Erasmus does not comply with the conditions of his correctional supervision, his full sentence of 12 years imprisonment on the murder charge, five of which are suspended, will come into effect.

He was also sentenced to five years, suspended for five years, for child abuse and six months for the assault.

Willemse said the public often saw correctional supervision as a lesser sentence, but warned Erasmus that it would be a great burden.

“You will have to explain to your young child why people in uniform are coming [to the house] to look for Dad.”

Erasmus has a seven-week-old daughter who was in court with his girlfriend, Cindy Nel, and family.

With tears welling up in her eyes, Buys’s mother, Wilna, said she was satisfied that justice had been done.

De Koker’s lawyer, Philip Venter, said they would apply for leave to appeal the conviction and the sentence.

-Roxanne Henderson

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