A close encounter with killer

2014-12-19 00:00

NOTORIOUS paedophile and serial killer Gert van Rooyen had stalked the streets of Pietermaritzburg for weeks before he allegedly snatched Fiona Harvey just days before Christmas in 1988.

Fiona’s disappearance rocked the city and more than 25 years on, the search for her continues.

She is widely understood to have been abducted by Van Rooyen and his girlfriend Joey Haarhoff, along with six other girls.

In the second of a four-part series, we delve further into Fiona Harvey’s life and take you inside her childhood home. (See p4.)

Meanwhile, Witness reader Estelle Hundly said on two occasions Van Rooyen had offered her a lift in the late 80s as she waited to board a bus near her Blackridge home into town.

“I always used to walk to the tearoom on the Sweetwaters Road and then go from there into town to do my shopping. Twice when I was standing and waiting for the bus to collect me, this man came in his white bakkie and tried to get me to take a lift with him,” the 90-year-old said.

“I remember it so vividly. It was a small white bakkie and he had a ladder lashed to the roof and both times he was wearing a white overall and a red cap.

“He wanted me to get into the car with him. My husband had told me never to do that but he was so persistent. On both occasions I refused and the second time I even told him that I was waiting to meet a friend on the bus. It was only ­afterwards did this poor child disappear and it was so heart-breaking,” Hundley added.

“It was shocking that this man was going up and down the road into Pietermaritzburg all the time.

“I have never forgotten about that little girl and I can only imagine what her parents have gone through,” she said.

•Tomorrow we unravel Van Rooyen’s murderous web and reveal why Fiona’s former school principal feels responsible for her vanishing.

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