‘It was like a wolf attack’: Judge slams Franziska’s ‘vicious’ killer

Howard Oliver (back) listens as Judge Katharina Savage convicts him in the High Court in Cape Town of the murder and rape of Franziska Blochliger in Tokai forest in March 2016
Picture: Anthony Molyneaux

A day after he admitted killing Franziska Blöchliger in Tokai forest‚ Howard Oliver was convicted on Wednesday of murder‚ rape‚ anal rape and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

Oliver‚ from Westlake‚ sat bent forward looking at Judge Katharina Savage as she read her judgment in the High Court in Cape Town. Franziska’s parents were not present to see their daughter’s killer found guilty.

Savage said Oliver took advantage of an “easy target” when he saw the Constantia Waldorf School pupil jogging on March 7‚ 2016.

On Tuesday‚ in an affidavit handed to the court‚ Oliver explained how he grabbed the teenager from behind.

“When I dragged her body deep enough into the fynbos so that no one could see us‚ I went through the process of removing the cellphone‚ earphones and ring from her. I saw a watch on her when I grabbed her but when I looked for it I could not find it‚” he said.

He admitted using shoelaces to tie her hands and gag her. He then pushed her face into the ground‚ removed her clothing and raped her.

“Before leaving her I discovered that she was not breathing. My legal representative informed me that the post-mortem noted the cause of death as suffocation by pressing the face against the ground and manual throttling.”

In her judgment‚ Savage said Oliver’s “extremely vicious” attack left Franziska, 16, “vulnerable‚ exposed‚ naked and bleeding”.

He had stalked his prey before pouncing in what Savage characterised as a “wolf attack”.

The crime was shocking and senseless.

“Our society needs to act urgently to protect women and children‚” Savage said.

Sentencing is expected to follow the judgment.

This is a developing story.

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