A WIDOW, the mastermind behind the gruesome murder of Rudolph Rittmann was slapped with an effective life imprisonment, while her former young lover was sentenced to 30 years for the murder.
Rachel Rittmann, 48, maintained her innocence throughout the trial, although evidence pointing to her suggested she was the master manipulator in the ploy to kill her husband for inheritance money. Ryno du Preez, her now ex-lover, was 28-years-old at the time of the murder.
He has apologised and admitted guilt.
Rachel reportedly drugged Rudolph with unidentified medicine, before allowing Du Preez into their home to stab her husband a total 22 times while he was in the couple’s bed in a state of confusion.
They then proceeded to clean up the crime scene, loaded his body in his pickup bakkie and set it on fire in an attempt to stage a car accident and cover their tracks. The incident happened in 2013.
“Mindful of the fact that both accused are first offenders and that they are trial awaiting for six years, the present circumstances, however, are such that the imposition of lengthy custodial sentences seems inescapable.
The facts clearly established a material difference between the personal circumstances and culpability of each accused which in my opinion warrants a clear differentiation in punishment that is deemed just and appropriate in respect of the accused,” Judge Christie Liebenberg said.
On the charge of obstructing the course of justice, the two were sentenced to eight years. The duo was sentenced to a further three years for the conspiracy to commit murder and an additional one year for the theft charge.
“The sentences imposed on the counts of conspiracy and theft are to be served concurrently with the murder count. Half of the sentence in the count of obstructing the course of justice are to be served concurrently with the murder sentence,” Judge Liebenberg ordered.
It was also ordered that the cellphone belonging to the deceased, which was used as evidence in the matter, be handed over to the executor of the Rittmann estate.
Rachel and du Preez cellphones are to be forfeited to the state.