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Parolee convicted for kidnapping, rape, murder of boy, 8

Slain Reagan Gertse, 8, from Tulbagh was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Jacobus Petoors. File Picture

Slain Reagan Gertse, 8, from Tulbagh was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Jacobus Petoors. File Picture

Published Jan 26, 2022

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CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape High Court has convicted a 55-year-old man on charges of kidnapping, rape and murder of an eight-year-old boy from Tulbagh.

Jacobus Petoors committed the crime a few months after his release on parole for a similar crime.

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On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to all charges and was immediately convicted. He will be sentenced on Thursday.

On February 29, 2021, he killed eight-year-old Regan Gertse.

On the day of the murder, Gertse attended a birthday which started at 4pm, but the boy left after 30 minutes..

Between 5pm and 6pm, Gertse was seen in the company of Petoors. He did not return home and his family started becoming concerned.

A search party was formed for the missing boy. The search continued the following morning, March 1, 2020, and later during the day the body of Gertse was found in nearby bushes.

During his plea explanation, Petoors confessed his crimes and what he had done to the young boy.

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He told the court on February 29, 2020, that he visited the NG Kerk to do his community service (as part of his parole conditions), but did not find anyone there as he was late.

Walking home he saw Gertse at his home.

He admitted to knowing the boy as he stayed a few houses from where the child lived.

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Petoors said he called Gertse and told him he had planned to go for a swim at the local river as it was hot that day.

He claims that Gertse requested to accompany him.

The court heard Petoors saw a woman walking with a boy who called out to Gertse who wanted to go along with them but he fell and he grabbed the boy.

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He admitted to grabbing Gertse, placing his arm around his neck and instructed him to accompany him to the river. Upon arrival at the river, Petoors admitted to raping the boy. Gertse pleaded with Petoors to go home but he refused to let him go.

Petoors admitted to dragging the boy to the river, pressing his head into the ground until he stopped moving.

The court heard how Petoors then stated he had picked up the boy’s body and placed it near some trees, face down.

After the incident, he went home.

Petoors admitted the child’s mother, Louisa Gertse, had confronted him about the whereabouts of her son but he denied knowing where the child was.

Louisa told him that someone from the community last saw her son in his company.

Petoors was arrested on March 1, 2020.

He admitted that he knew what he had done was wrong and told the court he regretted what he did to Gertse and his family. He also asked for forgiveness.

State prosecutor advocate Maresa Engelbrecht told the court that the victim’s murder formed part of the scourge of child murders plaguing the province and country in its entirety.

“The accused was convicted of rape and assault with intent to do serious bodily harm on July 24, 2012, and committed on October 29, 2011.

“He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and was released on parole only three months before he committed these crimes

“Rape is always an appalling act, but the rape of a child under the age of 16 years, in this case eight years old, is viewed in a particularly serious light because children are vulnerable and ill – equipped to protect themselves against sexual predators.

“There is an unacceptable level of violent crimes in our communities and especially against children, women and the elderly.

“The accused needs to be removed from the community as he contributed to the very unacceptable high levels of crime in our country,” Engelbrecht argued.

She asked for the court to sentence Petoors to life imprisonment.

Engelbrecht said that while Petoors did plead guilty, he had no choice as the DNA found in the pants and scrotum of the deceased would have nailed him.

According to Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in the province, Petoors was currently serving the remainder of his 12-year sentence, which is 1 604 days.

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