A former Americans gang member has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for murdering a rival – 13 years after the killing.
Jerome “Lippe” du Plessis, 36, of Tafelsig, was sentenced by Mitchells Plain Regional Court magistrate Ivan Munnik on Thursday.
Munnik found that Du Plessis was responsible for the death of Morne Calvert, 20, on January 15, 1998, but there were substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed sentence of 15 years in prison for a first offender charged with murder.
During the trial the court heard that Calvert, who allegedly belonged to the Sexy Boys gang, had stabbed one of Du Plessis’s friends, Syko, at an Americans dance party in Mitchells Plain a few months earlier.
Syko’s real name was not used during court proceedings as he died soon after Calvert’s murder.
Munnik rejected Du Plessis’s version that he and Syko went to a house in Erica Road, Tafelsig, to make peace with Calvert.
A witness testifying for the State said Du Plessis and Syko had called Calvert and a friend out of the house to talk about the stabbing at the dance party.
They spoke and, as Calvert turned to walk away with this friend, Du Plessis and Syko repeatedly stabbed him.
Du Plessis was charged with the murder in 1998, but due to a lack of evidence the matter was referred for an inquest.
The docket also disappeared over the years, but Du Plessis was rearrested on October 5 last year and recharged. A duplicate docket was used.
A post-mortem report said Calvert had been stabbed six times at about 9pm. Two of the wounds were to his back.
In sentencing Du Plessis, Munnik said it counted in his favour that the incident occurred in 1998, that Du Plessis was not to blame for the delay in prosecution, and that he, with the disability grant he received, supported his family and two children who lived with his estranged wife.
Du Plessis’s lower right arm has been amputated, and he cannot use his left arm.
Munnik, however, found that a prison term was the only appropriate sentence. He said nothing would bring Calvert back, and his 13-year-old daughter had to grow up without a father.
After the court proceedings, Calvert’s mother, Mary-Ann Gouws, said she was happy that the case had come to an end.
“This is closure for me. I feel so much better now,” she said.
“So many things have happened, I really don’t have words to explain how I feel.”