‘Blame the crack, jealousy’

2011-02-12 00:00

A RICHARDS Bay man who attemp­ted to set himself and his girlfriend alight as an apparent act of love has told Weekend Witness he didn’t mean to hurt her.

Appearing in the Richards Bay Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, Peter Bezuidenhout (38) was charged with arson and attempted murder after he allegedly tried to kill his girlfriend, Amanda van Rooyen (43), in a drugged frenzy.

His bail application has been remanded until February 17 for further investigation.

Claiming to be married to Van Rooyen, something her family denies, Bezuidenhout told Weekend Witness as he was being led towards the court’s holding cell that she was not meant to be at the house and he only wanted to kill himself.

“I swear to God, I didn’t mean to hurt her. I was f**ked. I am sorry. I love her,” said Bezuidenhout.

Reports indicate that he pinned his girlfriend down, forced petrol down her throat and tried to suffocate her with a petrol soaked towel.

While doing this, he was murmuring, “Don’t worry baby, I love you, we are going to die together.”

Asked why he put petrol down her mouth, Bezuidenhout said he was just trying to make her unconscious as she wasn’t meant to be home.

“I wanted to make her pass out and then I was going to kill myself. It wasn’t supposed to work out like that,” said Bezuidenhout.

Van Rooyen believes it was her boyfriend’s “up and down” drug habit and jealousy that eventually set him off.

“While he pinned me down he kept saying, ‘Calm down, I am mellow, I’ve had my crack all day’. He kept saying that our dying together was for the best and that we will be together.

“He thought it was an act of love. It was all so surreal. You never expect this type of thing to happen to you,” said Van Rooyen.

She said his behaviour had become strange in the last week while he was on leave.

She believes his use of drugs such as crack began to increase.

Last week, after the double murder of Richards Bay nursery school teachers Gillian and Evelyn Stanley by Evelyn’s estranged boyfriend Wayne Goosen (reported in The Witness on February 1), who later shot himself on the N2 near Hibberdene, Van Rooyen said Bezuidenhout told her that she “would end up like that” if she ever left him.

“[On Monday night] I returned home from work and seeing friends at 9 pm. All the windows were closed, which was unusual. He wasn’t home. I realised he had been drinking as I received a notification SMS every time he made a purchase. I also received a message that he had purchased petrol to the value of R200,” said Van Rooyen.

She climbed into bed thinking he would be returning a bit later and dozed off before he suddenly attacked her. Van Rooyen believes he may have been hiding in the ceiling.

She fought him off for nearly 30 minutes and it was only when she got downstairs and her screams were heard that help arrived.

The trustee chairperson at the duplex where the couple live, Andrew Habgood, said it was his Jack Russell that eventually let him know something was seriously wrong.

“I heard the scream but it was my dog that gave a specific growl that made me realise there was a problem. I followed the screams and peeped over the back wall when I saw him choking her. I managed to distract him and he ran away. I told her to go to my place and then I called the cops. The next thing the garage exploded,” said Habgood.

Bezuidenhout had apparently run to the garage and set alight his scooter. After calling the fire brigade and having grabbed his extinguisher, Habgood saw Bezuidenhout running away.

“I chased him with the extinguisher and kept spraying him in the face. He was physically ‘stuffed’. Eventually, he just gave himself up and I was able to return him to the complex where we tied him up for the cops to take away,” said Habgood.

It is alleged the suspect told Van Rooyen’s family after he was arrested that he was disappointed that he had not “finished the job”.

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