A tow truck driver, who mowed down his former wife in his truck when she tried to stop him from leaving for work, has been clashing with the law since he was at school, the High Court in Pretoria heard.
A probation officer recommended direct imprisonment for 61-year-old Nico Horne, of Kameeldrift in Pretoria, saying he had a long history of questionable behaviour and did not accept responsibility for his actions.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela earlier found Horne guilty of the 2015 murder of his wife, Susan, despite Horne’s claims that he had accidentally driven over her in his tow truck and had not meant to kill her.
Horne has numerous previous convictions for assault, fraud, theft, housebreaking and drug possession going back to his school years. Horne and his wife were divorced in 2012, but were living with their adult son, who has mental problems, at the time of the incident.
According to the report, their relationship was “explosive”, with Horne and his wife abusing each other physically and emotionally and both frequently abusing alcohol and dagga. His wife once tried to burn the truck and would lie under it to prevent him leaving.
According to Horne, his wife had smoked dagga and wanted him to buy more that day. She did not want him to leave for work so she stood in front of the truck. He grabbed her by the neck and threw her aside before driving away.
According to Horne, he did not see his wife in front of the truck, but could feel he had driven over something. He only realised he had knocked her down when he found police at his house on returning that afternoon.
Eye witnesses testified that Mrs Horne was standing in front of the gate trying to close it when her husband knocked her down. When she tried to get up, he hit her again, driving two wheels of the truck over her at high speed. She died of massive internal injuries within minutes of being hit.
Horne said his health was not good and he suffered emotionally as a result of his wife’s death, whom he had loved very much. He will be sentenced later this month.