Wife-killer George Barkhuizen given life in jail

George Barkhuizen took out three life insurances on his wife shortly before killing her.
George Barkhuizen took out three life insurances on his wife shortly before killing her.
Image: 123RF.com/phartisan

Convicted wife-killer and fraudster George Barkhuizen has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his spouse, Odette.

The sentence was handed down in the high court in Johannesburg on Friday.

Barkhuizen had taken out three life insurance policies on Odette a mere month before she was shot dead near her offices in Moffatview in 2015. Barkhuizen has spent years in criminal trial proclaiming his innocence. However, at his conviction last week, Judge Ramarumo Monama gave a damning judgment, saying that not only was Barkhuizen “arrogant” in his behaviour, but that his crime was motivated by greed.

On Friday, Monama continued to berate Barkhuizen for his conduct, describing his spousal killing as “brutal”.

“Femicide, matricide and the killing of children is endemic [in South Africa]. The country is paralysed by acts such as those committed by Mr Barkhuizen,” he said.

He added that Barkhuizen’s plan to defraud numerous insurance companies with his actions should also be seen in a serious light, as white collar crimes are “squeezing” South Africa’s already ailing economy.

Because of this, he sentenced Barkhuizen to life in prison for the murder, 15 years for the fraud, six years for possession of an illegal firearm and two years for possession of illegal ammunition.

However, the sentences will run concurrently, though this means that Barkhuizen will likely only be eligible for parole by the time he is 75.

His lawyer, Rudi Krause, indicated his client would be appealing the conviction.

In his judgment last week, the judge had attacked Barkhuizen’s behaviour and attitude, saying he suffered from the Dunning-Kruger effect - an arrogant man who had a bloated sense of self-confidence in his abilities to cover up the crime, when in fact, it was plain to see that he had murdered his wife for the millions in insurance money.

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