The Cape Town High Court sentenced Jeffrey Thompson to two life sentences after entering into a plea and sentence agreement with the state.
The court convicted Thompson on Wednesday on a total of 15 charges, including two murders, housebreaking, robbery, and serious assault. He received a total of 58 years and six months in prison.
For each of those two murders, Thompson was sentenced to life in prison. The other sentences are served concurrently. Thompson was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said Thompson terrorized the farming communities of Robertson, McGregor, and Bonnievale with a spate of violent crime from September 2017 until his final arrest on December 16 last year.
It all started on a night in September 2017 when he hit his girlfriend, Magdaleen Willemien Simons, 31, with an empty beer bottle and sustained a serious wound. Her only sin was to ask about an R200 she had left in the house earlier.
After that incident, Thompson broke into several farmhouses and stole items worth thousands of rands. He even broke into some houses while the homeowners were home, threatening them with an ax and stealing their belongings, Ntabazalila said.
Thompson was arrested on Sept. 7, but on Dec. 10, the Magistrate’s Court released him.
Two days later, on December 12, he entered Elmien’s art studio. He watched her and Piet in the main house where they went their usual course. He slept in their art studio and entered the main property the next morning.
On December 13, Thompson found the elderly couple asleep in their bed and, without provocation, he killed them with an ax. The Steyns died from head injuries.
He took several valuables, loaded them into their vehicle and drove away. The vehicle was found abandoned in the McGregor area two days later. Thompson was arrested on December 16.
Lenro Badenhorst, a senior prosecutor, said Thompson again violated his sentence after serving a suspended sentence for serious assault in March 2017. “He did most of the housebreaking at night or in the early morning hours in rural areas when little to no people were around.
“He carefully planned his attack on [the Steyns] by watching them through the window in the art studio. He could see them moving and determining when to go to sleep.
“They are survived by three daughters and an extended family who are still severely traumatized by the brutal murders. The children receive trauma treatment, while other psychologists receive counseling, ”Badenhorst argued.