Friends and family outraged over five year jail sentence

BARBERTON – Judge Peter Mabuse sentenced Heunis for the murder of Curgenven, which occurred on July 4, 2013, to 10 years, five of which were suspended.

Curgenven was found shot dead inside her Land Rover Freelander in the garage of her Steiltes home.
She was a single mother of two children, Chase (6) and Kadyn (5), who were orphaned. Their father had died four years earlier.

In 2016 the local seat of the High Court found that Curgenven’s death, was an accident. In September last year the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Heunis had shot her on purpose.

Curgenven’s sister, Diana Loock, said the punishment did not fit his crime.

“He is now behind bars. I do not feel he was adequately punished for what he had done. I feel the court took his age too much into consideration, I kept hearing this in court but hardly anything was said about the children.”

Another family member outside the court stated, “Nowhere did the court take into consideration that we have two children who are orphaned, they have gone through two deaths of both parents. They live with grandparents who are older, yet take his age into consideration. I want to know, will society benefit from him getting off basically scot-free for murdering a single mother?”

Mabuse had largely taken into consideration Heunis’ age, that he was a first-time offender and that he had shown remorse for his actions.

He said the family had lost a daughter, mother and sister forever. “There are mitigating circumstances that allowed the court not to impose the minimum sentence of 15 years for murder.”

Mabuse said Heunis’ was a first-time offender who had played a vital role as a traffic official in the community.

“This matter was not an ordinary case. He had shown remorse and had attempted to reach out to the deceased’s family. He acted with genuine contrition.”

At the time of her death, Curgenven worked for the Mbombela municipality as an administration clerk. Heunis was the Mbombela deputy traffic chief and her boss. He admitted that he had romantic feelings for her, but she did not want a relationship with him.

On the day of the incident, police found Curgenven’s body in the driver’s seat. Heunis was arrested on the scene.

Police at the time stated he was aggressive and threatened to commit suicide should they try to arrest him. SAPS negotiated with him until he surrendered.

State advocate Johan Kotzé and Heunis’ defence stated they respected the court’s sentence.
Investigating police officer,

Lt Col Erhard Stroh said, the state would not be appealing the sentence. After being sentenced, Heunis was escorted down the stairs to the underground holding cells to start serving his time.

  AUTHOR
Tereasa Dias
Journalist

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