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14 Nov 2011 17:18
A woman convicted of conspiring to kill Blue Bulls rugby player Deon Helberg was on Monday sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years.
Manda Reyneke (48) pleaded guilty in the Pretoria District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
She admitted to hiring two men to kill Helberg after he broke off their relationship.
In a statement read by her lawyer, Salie Joubert, the court heard how Reyneke met the former Blue Bulls and Sevens rugby player while he was dating her daughter, Jalien.
At the time, Reyneke lived in Middelburg and Helberg often came to the house to visit Jalien.
The statement explained how an attraction developed between Reyneke and Helberg and how she supported him with his rugby career.
She said they were involved in a sexual relationship. This has been disputed by Helberg in interviews with Huisgenoot, Rooi Rose, Beeld and Rapport.
She said the relationship ended in June 2009 when Jalien found a love letter Helberg had written Reyneke.
Magistrate Adriaan Bekker said Reyneke was not prone to violence and it was obvious that she would not commit such an offence again.
He said she was the caretaker of her other daughter, Heleen, who was autistic and therefore a jail sentence would not be appropriate.
It was time to close the bag and toss it away, he said.
Reyneke was also sentenced to six months community service at the Pretoria Women’s Correctional Facility.
Added to this was a condition that she continued with psychiatric treatment.
A report by the psychologist would be submitted to the court every three months.
Reyneke did not want to comment outside court and Helberg said he was relieved that the case was over.
He said he thought it was an appropriate sentence and wanted to continue with his life.
He is studying sports science at the University of Pretoria and currently has a contract with the university’s rugby team.
Reyneke was arrested by the Hawks at the Value Mart Shopping Centre in Pretoria last year after she allegedly handed money to two Nigerian men, believing they had killed Helberg.
The two “hit men” worked with the police to catch her and had showed her a staged picture of Helberg lying in a pool of blood as proof that they had done the deed.—Sapa
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