The former boyfriend of a Riebeek West mom has been handed a life sentence in the Western Cape High Court for murdering the woman’s daughter.
Jonathan Heyns, convicted of killing Kaithlyn Wilson two years ago, was handed the maximum sentence, while his accomplice, August Pedro-Lee Swarts, was given six years for his part in the crime.
Kaithlyn’s mother, Yvonne Wilson, had been involved in a relationship with Heyns, which ended shortly before the murder.
The little girl was suffocated to death before her body was dumped in a bush.
In its summary of facts, the State charged that Heyns had in the past threatened Yvonne, saying he would harm her child.
Days prior to the five-year-old’s death, Heyns had accosted, insulted and assaulted Yvonne, and on the morning of July 30, 2017, he harassed her on her way to work.
Yvonne had returned home from work and could not find Kaithlyn, who was last seen playing with her friends near Heyns’ home on the day she was killed. She had been in her grandparents’ care at the time.
Heyns and Swarts were seen together that day, with Swarts allegedly pushing a wheelbarrow from outside Heyns’ home to a vineyard near the local railway line.
Kaithlyn’s body had been inside and the pair had been disposing of it.
Swarts eventually pointed out where the little girl had been dumped.
When her body was found, black insulation tape had been tightly wrapped around her nose and eyes. There was a face cloth in her mouth.
Billy Claasen, the executive director of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation, welcomed the sentence.
“This must send a strong message to those who abuse and murder women and children. We need to heal our society from sick people. The family of Kaithlyn can now find peace and work on the healing process going forward.”