Serial rapist, murderer sentenced to life in jail

A 34-year-old Mariental man who terrorised women in his area with a series of rapes and murders has finally been sentenced to life in prison.

Gerald Henly Matlata’s sentence comes in the wake of his guilty plea to the main charge of murder, which make up seven counts including housebreaking with intent to rape and theft and attempted murder. 

His reign of terror spanned from 2012 until 2015 where he caught his female victims by surprise by breaking into their houses, and although he intended to kill them all, he only succeeded in 2015.

A break down of Matlata’s judgement is that for count two, housebreaking with intent to steal, he got slapped with a 20-year jail term and 15 years for attempted murder.

He got slapped with two years for theft and eight years for housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

He also got slapped with 20 years for housebreaking with intent to rape. Judge Christie Liebenberg said his sentence was in the interest of society.

“The accused must be deterred from reoffending while the sentences should equally serve as a general warning to like-minded criminals. The message must be clear that the courts will not shirk its duty to uphold the rule of law in society and to protect and defend the rights of its members especially the innocent and the vulnerable against unscrupulous criminals such as the accused,” said the judge.

The judge also said that this judgement was being passed at a time when there was a huge public outcry against the senseless killing of women and children in the country.

Matlata was a first-time offender, and before his arrest, he was the sole provider for his partner and their three minor children.

The mother of the children is at the moment employed, which the judge described as quite fortunate, and thus, the convict’s circumstances failed to outweigh the gravity of his crimes.

Although he pleaded guilty on his own, the judge indicated that he did not show that he was sorry for his crimes and made no effort to apologise to his victims.

 It is the state’s case that Matlata intentionally killed Debora Snyman during the period between 18-19 September in 2015 in Mariental.

This came about when he broke into the residence of the deceased with the intent to rape her by applying physical force and threats.

 It is said that he stole the deceased’s handbag at erf 525 in Tulbach Street Mariental.

 He was also charged for assaulting another woman by covering her head with a piece of cloth, strangling and beating her in an attempt to cut her life short.

This incident happened between the 7th and 8th of February in 2013 after the convict had again broken into his victim’s house before forcefully raping her with threats.

Again, Matlata stole his victim’s handbag valued at N$900, together with N$100 000 in cash, two chequebooks, a purse valued at N$500, sunglasses, credit cards, lipstick and a driving licence.

 All this transpired during evening hours while the victim was alone at Erf 530 Aub Street in Mariental.

Between 29-30 of June 2012, Matlata again assaulted another woman by strangling, kicking and beating her with a glass bottle in an attempt to murder her.

This was after he had broken into her house and forcefully raped her and later took off with a packet of cigarettes, the state alleges.

All this is said to have happened during evening hours when the victim was asleep at her residence at the FNB flats.