The year 2014 has certainly turned heads with quite a few attention grabbing headlines. We look back.
Speaking through her lawyer Piet Matthee, Christelle Lotter said she was glad the case had reached finality, but she was not ready to face her siblings.
“She says everything is still very unreal and incomprehensible and that the case has reached finality,” said Mathee.
He said his client noted the “big difference” between her brother’s sentence and that of Nicolette’s ex-boyfriend Mathew Naidoo.
Nicolette and Hardus were sentenced to 12 and 10 years imprisonment respectively.
Last week, the Durban High Court convicted Hardus, Nicolette and Naidoo of murdering Maria Magdalena “Riekie” Lotter, 52, and her husband Johannes Petrus “Johnny” Lotter, 53, in their home in Durban on July 19, 2008.
On Monday, Judge Shyam Gyanda sentenced Nicolette to 12 years’ imprisonment for each of the murders. The sentences would run concurrently and she would be eligible for parole in 10 years.
Hardus, 23, was jailed for 10 years on each count, also to run concurrently. He would be eligible for parole in six years.
Gyanda said he had taken into account that they had spent 44 months in prison awaiting trial.
Imposing two life sentences on Naidoo, 25, the judge said there were no compelling circumstances in his case to depart from the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment.
He found that Naidoo was the mastermind behind the double murder plot.
Gyanda said there was enough evidence to confirm that the Lotter siblings had been influenced by Naidoo to the extent they claimed.
The Lotters had testified that Naidoo told them he was the third son of God and that God wanted their parents dead for their sins.
The original plot had been to taser the Lotters’ parents to knock them out then inject them with air bubbles to bring about heart attacks.
When that went wrong, Naidoo had told Nicolette to stab her mother and Hardus to strangle his father.
In handing down the sentences on Monday, Gyanda said society would be aghast if the siblings were to get away with a slap on the wrist and either correctional supervision or a suspended sentence.
He said like-minded people had to be deterred from committing crimes like this or else a belief in witchcraft and the occult, such as Nicolette’s, would allow people to escape liability.