Cape Town – “I didn’t mean for things to turn out that way – that a girl had to lose her life. It was not my intention, my intention had been to rob her of her cellphone. I don’t know what evil spirit took hold of me.”
That’s what Howard Oliver, 28, wrote in a letter of apology to the family and friends of Franziska Blöchliger, who he raped and murdered in Tokai Forest in 2016. The letter was read in the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday by Oliver’s legal representative, Advocate Henk Carstens, in mitigation of sentence, Netwerk24 reported.
“I want to ask the victim’s family and next of kin, as well as the greater Westlake community to forgive me for what I did. I know it won’t bring back their daughter.”
Carstens said Oliver had written the letter two months after the murder, showing that he’d shown remorse from the start.
Oliver was found guilty of rape, murder and theft on Wednesday. He’d initially denied guilt, but on Tuesday confessed via Carstens.
Judge Kate Savage wanted to know what had led to “things getting out of hand” and him raping and killing Franziska.
Carstens said Oliver had had financial problems and had asked his employer for a loan. His family also pressurised him to pay his daughter’s crèche fees.
“Is there any explanation as to what drove him to go into the forest and rape and kill a young woman?” Judge Savage wanted to know. “No,” said Carstens. He said his client himself had been shocked by his behaviour when he grabbed her.
Oliver’s wife, Shannon-Lee, 23, said after the sentencing proceedings that she wasn’t ready to talk about Horward yet. She was supported at court by her mom and other family members. Franziska’s family was not in court.
Oliver will appear in court for sentencing on June 7.