Anika Smit case: Venter out on bail, search for second suspect

2010-05-20 00:00

PRETORIA — Another suspect has been identified in connection with the murder of Anika Smit (17), whose hands were hacked off after she was killed.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed last night that the police are looking for a second suspect. This came after Nico Venter (20) was released on R10 000 bail by the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court. The state did not oppose bail. Venter, Anika’s former boyfriend, was arrested on Monday morning in connection with the murder.

A threat to attack Venter was made in court yesterday, leading police to search everyone in the public gallery.

“I’ll slit his throat,” said an elderly man shortly before Venter’s appearance.

According to a statement by Warrant Officer Annerie Robinson, the investigating officer, “people made it known that they would be injuring the accused”.

Venter looked calm as he sat in the dock, dressed in a black suit, a black shirt and black tie, while his family, community members dressed in red, and the media packed the court.

At least 10 police officers stood in the courtroom.

According to Venter’s statement in his bail application, read by his lawyer Johann Gaum, he is a project manager at the Carousel casino where he was arrested.

“Although I am accused of a violent crime, I wouldn’t hurt anybody,” Venter said in the statement. “I have never intimidated anyone and I don’t hold a grudge against anyone.”

Outside the court, Johan Smit, Anika’s father, said he still misses her very much, and that he doesn’t want to see Venter.

“I know the man and I know what he looks like. Whether I see him or not will make absolutely no difference to me. Actually, I didn’t want to be here at all.”

Dana Wannenburg, a Democratic Alliance member of the Tshwane metro council, said: “I know there are children at the school [Gerrit Maritz High School, where Anika was in grade 11] who know what happened to her. Now is the time to speak up.”

Venter’s next court appearance is set for September.

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