Boy’s tale picked open

2013-11-19 00:00

KIMBERLEY — The net yesterday closed a little tighter around the minor who has been charged with the murder of the Steenkamps from Griekwastad.

The 17-year-old, who yesterday testified for the first time, was accused by advocate Hannes Cloete of adapting his version of the day’s events to suit himself.

Cloete, acting for the state, several times pointed out discrepancies in the teenager’s answers to his questions during a step-by-step reconstruction of the accused’s version of the Good Friday murders of Deon (44), Christel (43) and Marthella (14) Steenkamp. The minor is charged with three counts of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice.

The boy appeared calm during the prosecutor’s questioning but his jaw was taut and his face red at times.

He answered most of Cloete’s questions with a short “yes” or “I do not know”. He could not explain the improbabilities in testimonies or why his legal team did not argue with other versions of the events.

Cloete told the teenager that he was not trying to catch him out, but that he was being fair in his questions.

He accused the boy of having at least five different versions of events, which placed him in the barn at the Naauw­hoek farm and not in the house where the brutal murders were committed.

The boy listed several reasons why he would have been in the barn during the attack. He variously testified that he had wanted to put a knife away in the barn; repair hunting spotlights; call a friend from there; and that he did not really know what he would have been doing in the barn during the attack.

A girl friend’s evidence showed that the teenager had called her at 5.58 pm, while he was walking to the barn. In another version he said he had watched a bit of the series Vetkoekpaleis before he want to the barn, but the programme only started at 6 pm.

The teenager testified he had heard shots from the barn. He initially thought a shot had gone off accidentally in the house, but then more shots followed in quick succession. He went to investigate and allegedly found the bodies of Christel and Deon. He said Marthella had managed to stand, and told him that she was dying. He said she had died in his arms and that she had torn his T-shirt in her death convulsions.

He admitted his shirt was full of blood, but claimed he did not know where all the blood came from. He said he then went to put on a clean shirt. Cloete wanted to know why the boy would have put on a clean shirt instead of arming himself against possible attackers in the house. The boy could not explain his actions.

Cloete wanted to know how the suspected attacker would have been able to sneak into the house and walk past the Steenkamps to the locked safe that held the firearms used in the murders.

The teenager’s evidence called for a robber to have hidden in the house for 44 minutes before committing the murders. The teenager admitted to Cloete that there was a time lapse between making the phone call and hearing the shots, and that it was strange that an attacker would hide in the house for 44 minutes.

The boy said he fled from the farm in a bakkie and found the weapons used in the attack lying on the ground at the farm gate.

He said he had hung out of the bakkie and scooped up the rifle and revolver while driving. Cloete questioned this and the equestrian teenager said: “I can pick up a golf ball from horse back, so I could pick up the weapons from the bakkie”. The cross examination continues today.

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