Husband says seeing murdered wife’s battered face, body was ‘most horrific’

Cape Town – The husband of murdered Hilary van Rooyen, 52, said her damaged face that he saw in the mortuary was a horrific picture that left an indelible stain on his memory.

This was part of the impact victim statement read out by Derek van Rooyen in the sentencing process of convicted murderer Reghard Groenewald that got under way in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

State prosecutor Evadne Kortje handed in 11 victim statements and also called a Correctional Services probation officer, Mmseepa Kwakwa and Dean van Rooyen, the son of the deceased, to the stand. Defence advocate Ross McKernan only called social worker Arena Smith to the stand.

Groenewald was convicted in May by Judge Derek Wille on a charge of murder and theft. Van Rooyen’s body was found in a pool of blood behind the front door of her home on May 9, 2017. Groenewald pleaded not guilty.

It was his version that Van Rooyen attempted to sexually assault him by pushing her bosoms close to his chest and grabbing his buttocks.

He claimed she threatened to tell his friends he tried to sexually violate her and in panic said he hit her with the nearest object, a glass vase.

“Identifying my wife’s body and seeing her damaged face in the mortuary has been one of the horrific pictures I’ve ever experienced. The force exercised to cause such haemorrhage must have been extremely severe.

“Until today that picture is printed in my head and impossible to get out of my mind. The accused showed no remorse for his callous murder.

“What type of person sends condolences to the husband and attends the funeral of the very person he murdered? I’m angry and hate the accused with every fibre of my being and I will never be able to forgive him.”

Social worker Smith said from eight risk factors, there was only one risk factor of substance abuse present.

According to her report, to deal with the guilt, Groenewald increased alcohol abuse and smoked dagga.

2095x1176?source=https%3A%2F%2Finm baobab prod eu west - Husband says seeing murdered wife's battered face, body was ‘most horrific’
Reghard Groenewald is being sentenced for the murder of Hilary van Rooyen. Picture: Supplied

Kwakwa, in her report, said: “The accused does not take responsibility for the crime and still put the blame on the victim. He committed a murder and killed a defenceless woman.”

In cross-examination McKernan asked Kwaka to explain what she meant that his client’s life was under threat. She said the accused told her the victim dragged him and then he pushed her and she fell on her knees. He said he did not know how to act.

McKernan said his client denied he said to her that his life was under threat. 

Sentencing proceedings continue today.


Cape Argus

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