A fed-up lover who was angered by his girlfriend’s drug addiction and neglect of their toddler daughter was jailed to an effective 20 years behind bars in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday after he stabbed her multiple times in a fit of rage during a domestic dispute in August last year.
Romano Blaauw, 23, pleaded guilty to a charge of murder for killing Millesem van Dyk in the city’s northern areas of Gelvandale. After reaching a plea agreement with the defence, the state withdrew several other charges which included assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property, and possession of a dangerous weapon.
In his plea explanation, Blaauw said he had met Van Dyk more than 15 years ago and had an on and off relationship with her up until 2016 when she fell pregnant with their daughter.
Blaauw said that at the time he had already been addicted to the drug tik for close on three years. He said that there were very few people in his neighbourhood who were not addicted to drugs and it was something he had always been exposed to while growing up.
After Van Dyk gave birth, Blaauw claimed he had become concerned that she was using drugs and confronted her. He said that in the past she had been addicted to cocaine and had lost contact with her two previous children because of her drug addiction.
“She started to neglect our child and disappear for up to two weeks at a time. She would leave our daughter with her sister without any food. She eventually confessed to using tik because she could no longer afford cocaine,” he said.
The department of social welfare intervened and eventually the child was removed from the mother’s care. Blaauw said there was tense friction between himself and Van Dyk and he would often try to persuade her to get off drugs in an attempt to get their daughter back into her care.
At the time he did not have a job and said he was ill-equipped to provide for his child. Blaauw said he was later arrested for another matter and spent seven months in custody.
During this time, family members refused to take the child into their care but Blaauw’s father stepped up to take custody of her. He said van Dyk did not care and would not see their daughter for a month at a time.
On the day of the murder, Blaauw said he went to see van Dyk at her sister’s house. He said he pleaded with her to stop using drugs. “She didn’t act normally and appeared under the influence. She hit me with a cup she was holding in her hands.”
Blaauw said he became very angry and always had a short temper. He admitted to stabbing her several times with a knife. The final blow was inflicted on her chest. He admitted that his actions were “totally unnecessary”, adding that a domestic dispute turned into a physical altercation.
“I reacted out of anger and not self-defence. It was reckless.”
Blaauw has two previous convictions for assault and one of theft. He said that he intended to change his ways and looked at incarceration as a means to rehabilitate himself.
– African News Agency