Jesse Hess’ father hopes killer gets ‘a couple of life sentences’

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Jesse, 19 and her grandfather, Chris Lategan, 85, were murdered in the family's Parow flat in August.

Jesse, 19 and her grandfather, Chris Lategan, 85, were murdered in the family’s Parow flat in August.

The man has been linked to the case by circumstantial evidence, police confirmed this past week, but has not yet been charged.On Friday, the 31-year-old appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on rape and robbery charges following an alleged attack on a 16-year-old girl in Hanover Park on Monday. He did not apply for bail.

Jesse’s father, Lance, wore a pained expression as his wife, Audrey, recalled finding her stepdaughter naked and unresponsive in the one-bedroom unit she shared with her grandparents and aunt. Audrey, who is slight in stature and Lategan’s granddaughter, gained access to the flat by breaking a glass panel on the front door.That was until she saw Lategan in the bathroom and Jesse naked on the bedroom floor.“I just knew she was dead. I don’t want to close my eyes sometimes because I can still see it.”

Lance’s brother, Richard, the family’s spokesperson, said they had for the past three months mourned, fasted and prayed that the perpetrator would be found.Richard said he took comfort in the words of a church leader who told them that although she had died young, Jesse had “lived a full life because of how she had lived, through God”.


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