A man, who was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment in 2019 for stabbing his girlfriend and mother of his now 10-year-old daughter 27 times with several knives in front of her then four-year-old son, wants to appeal his sentence.
Johny Ryno Diergaardt (38) was convicted of murdering 22-year-old Tiffany Tanita Lewin by viciously stabbing her on 3 March 2014 at the room he rented at Erf 427 in Garnet Street, Khomasdal.
Diergaardt now wants the judge who sentenced him, Nate Ndauendapo, to allow him to appeal the sentence in the Supreme Court.
Ndauendapo sentenced Diergaardt to 35 years but suspended five years on condition he is not convicted of murder during the period of suspension.
In his testimony, Diergaardt described his actions as a moment of weakness.
Diergaardt does not have a lawyer currently, as the Department of Legal Aid told him the minister has placed a moratorium on outsourcing legal representation.
He was represented by Boris Isaacks during his trial.
In his sentencing judgment, the judge said the victim was a defenceless and innocent human being who died at the hands of her boyfriend.
“She was butchered in the cruellest manner imaginable,” he added.
The judge went on to say the son of the victim tried to defend her by asking the accused not to stab his mother and he even stabbed the accused in the leg in defence of his mother.
“The accused just continued stabbing the deceased as if she was an animal; one of the knives was found stuck in her head,” the judge remarked.
He went on to say the pain she must have endured must have been very profound.
According to the judge, Diergaardt’s actions towards another human being was simply beyond belief and the sentence must reflect the true nature and seriousness of the crime.
“Every person’s right to life is entrenched in our Constitution and the accused violently took that away from her,” the judge said, and continued that the victim was just 22 years old, barely started her adult life and she left two minor children, who must now grow up without the love and care of a mother and father because of the actions of the accused.
He went on to say that courts must send out a strong message that gender based violence is totally unacceptable and that those who make themselves guilty of that will be sentenced to very long prison terms.
However, the judge said, he observed the accused closely when he testified and could clearly see he was genuinely remorseful for what he did.
The judge further found that the murder was not pre-meditated and that Diergaardt acted out of character as testified to by various State witnesses.
Diergaardt stood impassive during the reading of the sentence and quickly made his way to the holding cells after the sentence was announced, while some of his family members started crying uncontrollably and were unceremoniously escorted out by the court orderlies.
The matter was postponed to 27 August for legal aid.
The State was represented by advocate Seredine Jacobs during the trial.