Enrico Esterhuizen, 29, of Belhar was sentenced at the Cape High Court yesterday for the murders of Marie Arnoldse, 50, her husband Henry Patterson, 60, a fisherman, and Marie’s daughter Chantelle Engelbrecht, 29, at their home in Mars Street in Ocean View in December 2015.
He was given an additional seven years for the attempted murder of Dirkie Daniels, and two three-year terms for the possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
Esterhuizen, who was initially facing eight charges, was convicted on 17 May.
He was acquitted of the charges of attempted murder and housebreaking.
Yesterday, he showed no emotion when Acting Judge Mohammed Salie handed down his sentence, and only looked up to his family seated in the upstairs public gallery.
Dirkie’s family and Chantelle’s son Diego Engelbrecht, three, were also at court.
“The accused showed no remorse and he needs to be removed from society,” Judge Salie said.
“The accused did not value human life.”
The killers pretended to be cops and knocked on the family’s door before forcing it open.
Marie, who managed to run out of the house, collapsed outside, still wearing her nightie, after she had been shot seven times.
Henry and Chantelle, a nurse, were in her bedroom when they were both shot in the head.
It’s believed Chantelle’s boyfriend, Dirkie Daniels, who was living with her, was the target of the gunmen.
The ex-convict, suspected drug addict and alleged gangster, became the State’s chief witness after surviving the shooting.
He told cops the gun meant to kill him jammed when the killer tried to pull the trigger.
He fled the house with his two children, aged two and eight at the time.
Judge Salie said he had an obligation to the community to give life sentences because of the brutality of the murders.
Esterhuizen’s lawyer, Nigel Jaftha, argued that the fact that his client had not acted alone should be taken into consideration.
But Salie said the shooters all had a common purpose, and that was to kill: “The police described this murder as brutal and execution-style.
“Two innocent children have been left without a mother and grandmother and step-grandfather.
“The deceased were enjoying the tranquillity of their home when they were attacked.”
Outside court, Dirkie’s sister Doreen Fritz said they were happy with the sentence, claiming they’ve been receiving threats from Esterhuizen from prison: “We are free now to walk the streets, so I am happy.”