Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
6 May 2016
2:00 pm

Two life sentences for callous parent killer

Ilse de Lange

Sentencing Herman Pienaar, 36, Judge Mohamed Ismail said the murders had been cold blooded, callous and motivated by aggression.

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A depressed drug addict who shot his parents in the head after his father told him to move out has been sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to two life terms. Sentencing Herman Pienaar, 36, Judge Mohamed Ismail said the murders had been cold blooded, callous and motivated by aggression.

Pienaar last year confessed guilt to murdering his parents, mechanical engineer Herman, 58, and Christine, 49, at their home in Valhalla. He said in his plea explanation he had felt “numb”due to his alcohol and drug abuse that day, did not take a moment to consider the consequences of his actions and felt “immediate regret“ after killing his parents.

Pienaar had been diagnosed with bipolar and hyper activity disorders two years before the murders and used medication for depression, insomnia and pain along with CAT and cannabis.

He was devastated by his brother’s suicide in 2011. His brother hanged himself and Pienaar had found him and cut him down.

Pienaar started using CAT three days before the murders. On the day of the incident, he felt extremely depressed, drank a lot of vodka and used sleeping pills. He was drinking when his parents arrived home.

His father was extremely angry and swore at him, accused him of not wanting to work and just wanting to sit at home and drink and gave him a day to leave home. Pienaar went to smoke on the patio with his mother, who was not happy because he was drunk. His father threw the last bottle of vodka in front of him before going back into the house.

Pienaar took a pistol and was on his way out with the intention of shooting himself when he walked past the study, saw his father behind the computer and instead shot his father in the head.

When he heard his mother calling out, he shot her in the head as well.

He told the court he did not want his mother to live with the pain of one son who committed suicide and him shooting her husband.

Judge Ismail said he did not understand Pienaar’s logic that he wanted to take his mother out of her misery. He described Pienaar as a manipulator and said his actions demonstrated that he thought he had the power of God that he could simply end the life of his parents.