Man who raped six-year-old while on suspended sentence for another child rape handed two life sentences

28 August 2020 - 17:37 By Aron Hyman
Six-year-old Delvinia Europa's kidnapper, rapist and killer was handed two life sentences on Friday.
Six-year-old Delvinia Europa's kidnapper, rapist and killer was handed two life sentences on Friday.
Image: Supplied

The man who raped and killed six-year-old Delvinia Europa was sentenced to two life sentences by the Western Cape High Court in Bredasdorp on Friday.

Reagan Zietsman also received eight years' imprisonment for kidnapping, and another five years for defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will all run concurrently.

Zietsman pleaded guilty this week to murdering Delvinia on March 24 last year in a crime which shook the foundations of the tranquil Overberg community of Elim. Judge AJ Sievers said Zietsman’s crimes “horrified the community and robbed it of its sense of security and freedom from fear”. He said Zietsman showed “no true remorse”, and while it was to his credit that he pleaded guilty, “in reality he had no real option as his DNA was found on the victim”.

Smothered

Zietsman raped Delvinia behind the Elim School for the Disabled, and then smothered her to death after he kidnapped her from her home on the morning of March 24 last year.

Community members found her body in a stream. She was wearing only one shoe and a T-shirt which had been pulled over her shoulder.

Zietsman said he had tried to rinse his DNA off her body by placing her in the water.

Sgt Carlo Alexander, who had served in visible policing for 16 years in Bredasdorp and Elim, was so disturbed by what he saw at the crime scene that he suffered nightmares for weeks,  said Sievers.

“He was enraged and traumatised by the brutality and indignity, and covered Delvinia’s body with his raincoat while awaiting the arrival of the forensic services,” read his judgment.

Alive when she was raped

The postmortem report prepared by state pathologist Dr Louise Kruger suggested Delvinia, a small girl weighing only 15kg and standing just 1.04m tall, was alive when Zietsman raped her.

“Dr Kruger testified the injuries would have been indescribably painful,” read the judgment. The injuries themselves were deemed to be life-threatening, even if she had been left alive.

Zietsman had previously been convicted of raping a 12-year-old child in January 2017, but never served  jail time as he was given a five-year suspended sentence on the condition that he did not rape again.

Delvinia was born on October 29 2012. Her mother died in December 2018 and Delvinia lived with her aunt, Carol October. Her father was in regular contact with her. He and Zietsman were social friends and had smoked tik and Mandrax together the night before the murder.

“In 2019 Delvinia attended Elim Primary School and was in grade 1. She was proud of her school uniform. Her favourite game was to play school and she would take the role of the teacher,” read the judgment.

“Delvinia was doted upon by her grandfather, who was wheelchair bound. He passed away broken-hearted in January 2020.

“Delvinia was universally described as a lovely, friendly, beautiful and intelligent child. On  the morning of March 24 2019, she had sung happy birthday to an uncle with whom her father resided,” said Sievers.

“She brought happiness to those around her,” read his judgment.

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