South Africa 23.5.2018 11:52 am

No mercy for manhole murderers

From left, murderers Estelle Reddy, Gerhard Papenfus and Kevin Johnson. Picture: Ilse de Lange

From left, murderers Estelle Reddy, Gerhard Papenfus and Kevin Johnson. Picture: Ilse de Lange

A Gauteng North High Court judge showed no mercy when he found a Pretoria woman and two men guilty of murder and stuffing a former policeman’s body in a manhole.

Judge Bert Bam sentenced the trio, Estelle Reddy, 38, Gerhard Papenfus, 44, and Kevin Johnson, 31, to life in prison for killing former police brigadier Danie Dreyer, 63.

He said the manner in which they tried to get rid of Dreyer’s body was “evil”.

Judge Bam said while the trio’s legal representatives asked the court to have mercy during the sentencing, the accused showed no mercy during the incident on March 29, 2016.

He said the deceased was attacked in the safety of his own home, overpowered and killed. He said it seemed the motive was to rob Dreyer, but was not convinced it was Reddy’s only motive because she could possibly benefit from the deceased’s business.

According to Bam, the accused showed no sign of remorse.

The trio have denied guilt to a range of charges, including murdering Dreyer at his house in Villieria, robbing him of numerous goods and setting his house alight. They then tried to get rid of Dreyer’s body by covering it with caustic soda and wrapping it in plastic before dumping it down a manhole at Papenfus’ house.

Police discovered the body after Reddy approached them, and volunteered to show them the body and point out where her co-accused lived.

Reddy admitted buying the caustic soda and heavy gloves, which she said Papenfus used in an attempt to get rid of the body. She claimed it was Papenfus who had set fire to Dreyer’s room and taken Dreyer’s pistol.

According to Reddy, she and Papenfus – who she described as a reformed drug dealer and gangster – had afterwards driven around in Eersterust looking for someone to kill, but couldn’t find anyone, and went to church the next day.

Except for the life sentences, Bam also sentenced Reddy to an additional 53 years and Papenfus to an additional 55 years on charges of robbery, robbery with aggravating circumstances, obstruction of justice for trying to hide and destroy Dreyer’s body with caustic soda, arson after the deceased’s room was set alight to try to destroy evidence, robbery of money withdrawn from Dreyer’s bank account, as well as the charge of illegal possession of a semiautomatic firearm and ammunition.

Papenfus was also found guilty of drug possession.

Johnson was given an additional 28 years in prison for robbery with aggravating circumstances, obstruction of justice and theft.

Bam said all these sentences would run concurrently with the life sentences, and he also denied the trio’s applications for leave to appeal.

 

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