Hefty Sentences Handed Down in Western Cape Circuit High Court
Two men accused of the murder of a 66-year-old hiker in the Western Cape have been sentenced to prison by the Circuit High Court in Swellendam. John Lee Bron, aged 20, and his accomplice, Jacobus Simon Skondo, aged 26, were arrested shortly after the body of Erna Gericke was found along a hiking trail on March 21, 2021.
Victim Reported Missing by Husband
Sergeant Christopher Spies, a spokesman for the provincial police, said that Gericke had gone for a walk on a climbing trail at about 2:00 p.m. the day before. She had left her Citroen car in the parking lot near Rondomskrik. Her husband called the police when she didn’t come home from her usual walk.
Search Party Discovers Body
A large-scale search was started right away by several police units and neighborhood people. Early on Monday, March 21, 2021, search party members found Gericke’s badly hurt body about 5 to 6 kilometers into the Waterfall Hiking Trail.
Arrests and Sentences
Bron and Skondo were arrested shortly after each other. The spare keys of Gericke’s Citroen C1 were found in possession of one of the suspects, linking them to the theft of the motor vehicle. Further investigation led to the recovery of a firearm and ammunition stolen during a burglary.
Bron was given a term of 38 years in jail. This included three years for breaking into a house and stealing, three years for stealing a car, ten years for having a gun without a license, two years for having ammunition without a license, and 20 years for murder. Skondo was given three years in prison for stealing a car, 18 years for rape, and 20 years for murder, for 41 years in jail.
Western Cape Police Commissioner’s Response
Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, the head of the Western Cape Police, was happy with the punishments and praised the investigators for their hard work, which led to the arrests of Bron and Skondo and their convictions. “We’re happy with the heavy terms given in this case. We hope it will stop other possible crooks from doing the same thing,” Patekile said.
The sentencing of Bron and Skondo for the murder of Erna Gericke has been met with approval from the Western Cape Police Commissioner. The Circuit High Court’s decision to hand down harsh sentences in Swellendam serves as a reminder that justice will be done for those who commit heinous crimes.