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Friends, relatives welcome hefty sentences handed to Zelda van Niekerk's killers

On Wednesday, Lucian Ackerman, the gunman, was handed a life sentence, while his co-accused, Michael Peterson, was handed a 20-year sentence for murder and 10 years for robbery.

Friends of Zelda van Niekerk at the Western Cape High Court on 5 February 2020 for the sentencing of her killers. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Friends and relatives of a biker who was shot dead after stopping on the N1 highway have welcomed the hefty sentences handed down to her killers.

On Wednesday, Lucian Ackerman, the gunman, was handed a life sentence, while his co-accused, Michael Peterson, was handed a 20-year sentence for murder and 10 years for robbery.

They pleaded guilty in November, while a third accused, Elton Abrahams, pleaded not guilty and is expected to go on trial later this month.

Zelda Van Niekerk had stopped on the N1 in the vicinity of Century City to wait for friend and fellow biker Cheryl Sandmann.

They were members of a charity group, established by the deceased, called Bikers With A Cause.

The women were meant to make their way to Fish Hoek, to escort a friend's son to his matric ball on that fateful Friday afternoon.

Sandmann said that she arrived at the meeting spot minutes after chatting to Van Niekerk on WhatsApp.

"I'll never forget her face and I'll never forget how she was looking at me... there was nothing, just nothing... it felt like hours for anyone to get there and help us but unfortunately it was too late."

The court found the killers were like wolves prowling around for a victim and the shooter had the direct intention to kill.