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'How do we stop people like you?' judge asks child killer

20 August 2018 - 17:27 By Aron Hyman
Andrew Platjies was sentenced to 50 years in jail for the murder of 13-year-old Rene Roman.
Andrew Platjies was sentenced to 50 years in jail for the murder of 13-year-old Rene Roman.
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

Cape Town child killer Andrew Platjies was sentenced to 50 years in jail on Monday after pleading guilty to the murder and attempted rape of 13-year-old Rene Roman.

He nodded in agreement as Judge Robert Hennie read out two sentences which will run concurrently.

Platjies‚ a short stocky man‚ politely greeted journalists in court and nodded with a focused look as the Afrikaans translator translated Hennie’s words.

“In order to satisfy your own sexual needs you go like a coward and immobilise a young girl so you can rape her‚” said Hennie.

Platjies seemed to nod in agreement with the words.

On the afternoon of March 10‚ 2017‚ Roman’s mother‚ Chrissande Jacobs‚ sent her to go to fetch her younger sister from crèche.

When she did not return that afternoon and after a community search failed to find her‚ Jacobs reported her missing that evening.

Her body was discovered 11 days later in a shallow grave just a few houses away from where she stayed.

Platjies‚ who stayed at the residence with his girlfriend‚ was taken in by police for questioning and pointed out the murder scene.

On Monday his lawyer‚ Henk Caarstens‚ read out a plea statement in which he admitted to wrapping a plastic bag over the teen’s head after abducting her on the street.

Then he hit her three times over the head with the blunt end of an axe and once at the back of the head to immobilise her‚ so he could rape her.

Upon realising that he had killed her‚ he abandoned the attempt and‚ fearing that he would be caught‚ buried the body in his girlfriend’s yard.

The court had to be swapped as Platjies stood in close proximity to a large crowd of Roman’s extended family and angry community members. Hennie asked why the plea and sentencing were being held in a small courtroom‚ fearing an “incident”.

Proceedings continued in the same courtroom where Henri Van Breda was recently convicted of murdering his mother‚ father‚ and brother with an axe.

Hennie did not mince his words with Platjies when he stated that sentences prescribed by courts for child murder cases plaguing the Western Cape did not prevent the crimes from continuing to take place.

“The question is how do we stop people like you who continue to brutally murder children like this?” he asked.

“It’s always someone known to the victim. That’s what makes it so difficult to curb this crime because we always tell our kids to stay away from strangers but then it’s the uncle‚ or the neighbour‚ or a family friend. The victims usually know the perpetrators‚” he said.

When he read out the sentences family members in the gallery wearing shirts with Roman’s face printed on them wept tears of relief.

Some family members could be heard saying‚ “now she can rest” as they left the gallery.