Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Stewart Wilken

The Trial

Stewart Wilken appeared in court on February 3, 1997, charged with the murders of his daughter and Henry Bakers. Over the months that followed, more charges were added as the police connected the crimes detailed in his confession with existing murder dockets. The final charge sheet listed 10 counts of murder and five of sodomy.

Both Dr. Micki Pistorius and Prof. Tuviah Zabow testified that serial killers in general and Wilken in particular cannot be rehabilitated. At least once during the trial, while Dr. Pistorius was testifying, Wilken asked to be excused to go to the bathroom. On his way he indicated to Sgt. Norsworthy that he was going to masturbate.

Wilken's defence did not contest seven of the murder charges and two of the sodomy charges. Regarding the others, they felt there was not sufficient evidence to prove Wilken's involvement beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr Justice Chris Jansen concurred and found Wilken guilty on seven counts of murder and two of sodomy on February 20, 1998. (In South Africa, criminal cases are presented before a judge who decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant. The jury system is not employed.) The murder charges related to Wuane, Henry Bakers and Monte Fiko, as well as all four of the women.

On February 23, 1998, Stewart Wilken was sentenced to seven terms of life imprisonment. Mr Justice Chris Jansen said that Wilken had to be removed from the community. If the death penalty had still been available in South Africa, he would have imposed it. He mentioned that, while almost everyone had turned away from some of the video's shown, Wilken had displayed no emotion.

Wilken's wife, Veronica, attended the proceedings and they were reconciled. After sentence was passed, they spoke for a couple of minutes and parted with a passionate kiss.

Sgt. Norsworthy somehow managed to track down Wilken's biological mother. She had been reunited with Wilken's sister shortly after she had disappeared. She asked Sgt. Norsworthy to tell Stewart that she had not abandoned him and that she loved him, despite her shock at the truth of what her son had become. Wilken broke down when he heard this. When they spoke on the phone, he called her "Mommy," a name he could not remember having used before.

Stewart Wilken
Stewart Wilken

Stewart Wilken is currently in St. Alban's Prison, where he is tormented by hallucinations and delusions of persecution. He believes that the ghosts of his victims are haunting him. Dr. Pistorius (2000) feels that, in the absence of being able to portray the role of the aggressor, he has reverted back to being the victim.

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