Farm heavy with silence

2013-03-19 00:00

GRIEKWASTAD — The deafening silence in the Naauwhoek farmyard yesterday probably replicated the moments, nearly a year ago, immediately after several gunshots shattered the evening silence.

After the death of Deon, Christel and Marthella Steenkamp, the farm fell silent. The silence still hangs heavily over everything.

The fertile farm with its beautiful garden stands in sharp contrast to the scenes of a year ago.

No longer is there a farmer tending his stock here, a mother preparing “boerekos” for her family and baking cookies, or a teenage girl with big dreams of becoming an actress one day. Only empty rooms where once there was life.

The bullet holes of the tragedy of April 6 can still be seen in the walls of the TV room and the shed, as became evident during the site visit by the Northern Cape High Court yesterday.

Judge President Frans Kgomo, advocates Hannes Cloete and Quinton Hollander, for the state, and advocates Willem Coetzee and Sharon Erasmus, for the defence, visited Naauwhoek to try to form a picture of the crime scene.

The accused, a minor, was present. He is charged with the rape and murder of Marthella, the murder of the Steenkamp couple and obstruction of justice.

One bullet hole can be seen in the prefabricated wall of the TV room where Marthella’s body lay next to her mother’s on the floor.

The shooter, with Deon behind him, may have shot at someone in the TV room and missed. That bullet appears to have traveled to the shed, struck the ground and ricochetted, hitting the wall of the shed.

The shed is visible from the window of the TV room.

The sun shone brightly through the curtains of Marthella’s room, where, a year ago, the teenager was still reading her Bible and playing with teddy bears and her cellphone on the bed.

The safe which held the firearms still stands in the main bedroom.

The proceedings were led by Cloete, who pointed to aspects of the scene. While the scene in the kitchen and TV room was being discussed, the accused hung his head and stared at the floor.

There is a dispute between the state and the defence about where the blood-covered stones lay at the tree between the house and the shed.

The places where three glasses lay were also pointed out.

Cloete argued that the house and kitchen can be clearly observed from the two windows of the shed.

Coetzee disagreed, saying that the welding marks on one of the windows obstructed the view. In the shed the accused stroked the disused red Massey Ferguson tractor.

The legal teams then proceeded to the farmworkers’ houses and outside toilets, the entrance to a neighbouring farm and then back past the place where the abandoned bakkie of Jan Koopman, a farmworker, was found.

The legal teams also went to the police station in the town.

The trial will continue today when Judge Kgomo will read his comments on the record.

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