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Murder of Erna Gericke (66) – 2 accused sentenced, Barrydale

Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile has welcomed the hefty sentences imposed on two men who stood trial for the murder of Erna Gericke (66) two years ago in Barrydale.

Investigation into the disappearance of the woman revealed that she went for a walk on a hiking trail in the vicinity at about 14:00 on Sunday, 20 March 2019 and left her motor vehicle, a Citroen sedan in the parking near Rondomskrik in Barrydale.

Her husband later reported her as missing when she didn’t return from her routine walk.

Authorities immediately commenced with a full scale search comprising various police units and community members. Members of the search party found a badly injured body of the woman approximately 5 to 6km into the Waterfall Hiking Trail during the early hours of Monday, 21 March 2019.

Meanwhile, detectives assigned to the investigation acted on information about the decease’ vehicle which was also missing.

The members, assisted by farm watch volunteers, found the abandoned vehicle of the deceased behind a hill near Tradouwhoek with its right front window shattered. Subsequent to the find two suspects aged 18 and 24 from a farm in the area were arrested shortly after one another.

The spare keys of the Citroen C1 was found in the possession of one of the suspects which linked them to the theft of the motor vehicle.

Further investigation also led to the recovery of a firearm and ammunition stolen during a burglary.

The accused were incarcerated ever since. They were found guilty in the circuit High Court at Swellendam and sentenced on Friday, 24 March 2023 as follow:

Accused 1 – John Lee Bron(20)

Housebreaking and theft – 3 years
Theft of motor vehicle – 3 years
Possession of unlicensed firearm – 10 years
Possession of unlicensed ammunition – 2 years
Murder – 20 years

Accused 2 – Jacobus Simon Skondo(26)

Rape – 18 years
Murder – 20 years
Theft of motor vehicle – 3 years

Lt Gen Patekile commended the investigating officers and prosecution team their sheer commitment which led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of the two men. He said: “We are pleased with the harsh sentences imposed in this matter. We hope that it would serve as a deterrent for potential criminals from committing similar offences”, he concluded.

Read: Retired NG church minister’s wife, Erna Gerecke (66), was shot and bled to death

Read: Missing Barrydale woman’s body discovered along hiking trail

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