Purple ribbons for murder victim Chantelle Barnard as family await sentencing
The family of Chantelle Barnard, 20, who was murdered on a plot in Benoni nine years ago, are hoping to rebuild their lives after her killer is sentenced on Monday.
Her mother Suzette arrived at court on Monday accompanied by her son Jacques and a small circle of friends, all wearing purple ribbons in honour of Chantelle.
Last week Jurgen Vandekeere, 42, was convicted of murder and rape. He was arrested for the crimes in April 2011 but, while on R20,000 bail, absconded and failed to appear before the high court for the start of the trial in September 2013. After years on the run, Vandekeere handed himself over at the Benoni police station on January 15 this year.
Barnard, who found her daughter's body on the plot where they had rented a home from Vandekeere's father, told TimesLIVE ahead of sentencing that she was hoping for a double life sentence.
The day he handed himself over to police was the first good night's sleep she had experienced since the murder, she said, adding her life has been “much more peaceful now.”
Though she had not missed a day in court, Barnard said it was the first time Jacques had been able to bring himself to court.
He and Chantelle were born only 11 months apart and were very close, like twins, said Barnard. She expressed the hope that her son can get on with his life after sentencing proceedings are concluded.