‘Shock and deep sense of sadness’ after Cape Town magistrate found murdered in her home

  • A magistrate and former prosecutor was found dead in the bedroom of her Marina da Gama home over the weekend.
  • Romay van Rooyen, 50, was killed in her house and her vehicle is missing.
  • It is understood that robbery is believed to be the motive behind the killing.

After a lifetime of seeking justice for victims of crime, a Cape Town magistrate and former prosecutor has been found murdered in her home.

Romay van Rooyen, 50, was found dead by a relative in her house in Red Roman Street, Marina da Gama, on Saturday afternoon.

The cause of death was unclear, but Western Cape police confirmed a murder investigation was under way.

Her vehicle was also missing from the scene, confirmed a police spokesperson, Sergeant Wesley Twigg.

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Van Rooyen is a former prosecutor, who served as a magistrate at courts across the city, including Mitchells Plain and Somerset West.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila expressed the State’s “shock and deep sense of sadness” after the murder of their former colleague and “dear friend”.

“Her tragic death is a loss to the judiciary and the justice system as a whole,” he said.

Van Rooyen started her career with the NPA in 1997, prosecuting in the district and regional courts before becoming a State advocate in the Western Cape High Court.

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She was employed as an acting magistrate in 2016, where she was the presiding officer in matters heard in the maintenance, domestic violence and criminal courts.

Van Rooyen had, in an interview for a magistrate vacancy, told the panel she had chosen to become an attorney to assist the public.

“Yes, I do love the law, but I also love helping people,” an enthusiastic Van Rooyen had said.

“I consider my sexual offences [prosecutions] – when I was prosecuting in Wynberg, where the [cases] I dealt with were all minor children under the age of 16 – my greatest contribution. There, it takes sympathy, empathy and [going] the extra mile to get a conviction in those matters.”

In the High Court, she secured three life sentences in 2014 for former motor mechanic Johannes Christiaan de Jager for the murder of two teenagers.

De Jager murdered 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008, and also robbed, killed and dismembered 16-year-old Charmaine Mare in 2013.

One of her former colleagues told News24 that Van Rooyen lived on her own.

It is understood she was found lifeless in her bedroom on Saturday afternoon at about 16:15, when a family member came to check up on her.

Robbery is believed to be the motive.

No arrests have been made as yet.