The 39-year-old Benjamin Klaaste was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a High Court hearing in Colesberg, Northern Cape on Friday for the murder of a pensioner.
Sophie Miles (82) was murdered in her home at Richmond on 15 October last year.
According to Mojalefa Senokoatsane, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Klaaste broke into Miles’ house in the Sabelo settlement near Richmond and strangled her. Miles lived alone.
“The neighbors noticed the next day that one door of the victim’s (Miles) house was open. However, they did not investigate,” says Senokoatsane.
“The door was still open the day after, after which the members of the community decided to go and see what was going on. They came across the deceased’s naked body on the floor of one of the rooms.”
Through the police’s forensic investigations, Klaaste was identified as the person of interest in the investigation into the murder. He was arrested shortly after the incident.
“According to the forensic reports, Miles died due to strangulation. She also had bite marks on her body.”
The public prosecutor, adv. Anel Stellenberg argued during the trial that the court must send a clear message to such criminals, namely that they will be caught, found guilty and sentenced appropriately for these heinous crimes.
She condemned the issue that the accused targeted an elderly person, while he knew very well that she lived alone and would not be able to defend herself against an attacker.
To aggravate the sentence, Stellenberg argued that Klaaste had shown no remorse for his actions.
Klaaste was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of murder and eight years for burglary. The two sentences will be served concurrently.
He was also declared incompetent to own a firearm.