Hardus cracks in court

2011-11-01 00:00

A BRIEF intermission was needed not just for murder accused Hardus Lotter, who was under cross-examination, but for everyone in a packed Durban high court yesterday.

Members of the public, lawyers, journalists and police officers, who are normally detached from the most sordid cases, were emotionally drained and some on the verge of tears after hearing the surreal developments that led to the brutal killings of Magdalene and Johannes Lotter.

“What were you feeling when you were snuffing the life out of your father,” co-accused Mathew Naidoo’s lawyer Vijay Sivakoomar asked Hardus.

And for the first time since he took the stand, the young man choked.

He cried, “I told you, it was the will of God,” before raising his hand, asking Judge Shyam Gyanda for a break, and almost falling to the floor.

Hardus’s main alibi appears to be that the murders were “the will of God”, and he has maintained throughout the trial that Naidoo, “the Third Son of God”, convinced him that God was speaking through him and he would have done anything for God.

Hardus said that he had learnt since the murders that his father had substantial assets, including three properties — a penthouse in Hout Bay, a house in the Bluff and the one they occupied in Westville, a fully-equipped skiboat and several investments, and was due to collect a life insurance and provident fund. He said Naidoo “probably” wanted access to this.

A reliable source estimates that the Lotter parents were worth over R12 million after their deaths.

But at the time of the killings, Naidoo had told Hardus that he and his sister were also members of the “12 Apostles” and that they had to carry out certain tasks in the name of God.

“He said that I was Luke, the 10th disciple. When I doubted him, he kicked me in the head several times.

“Mathew had three different personalities: Mathew, which was himself, Matthias, a saint, and Rage, which was the Devil incarnate,” said Hardus.

Naidoo made him feel inferior and insignificant. “His pet names for me were ‘idiot’ or ‘moffie’ and he often referred to my sister and myself as ‘f**k ups’.”

He said Naidoo beat, slapped and throttled Nicolette on several occasions.

“When he felt I was drifting from his control, he would collapse and then awaken and start speaking in a strange tone before he kicked me in the head and slapped me.

“When I cried and asked why he was hitting me, he told my sister, ‘look, the devil is attacking your brother’.

“I never resisted because I felt it was God’s will that I needed to be punished,” he said.

Hardus further testified that neither his father nor his mother were abusive and in fact that he and his mother were very close.

“Dad hit me as a child, when I deserved it. But they were decent to me,” he said.

Hardus was a second year IT networking student at Varsity College and had six months to finish before obtaining his diploma.

Asked why, if he believed in God and the Bible, he violated the commandment not to kill, he said, “The Bible is a manuscript but I was listening to God through Mathew. He told me not to take the Church or Bible at face value.

“I knew what I was doing when I killed my parents but I didn’t think it was wrong because it was God’s will.

“God instructed me, so God will deal with the consequences,” he said.

Hardus said Mathew was a good actor and highly manipulative.

“A voice I believed to be God or the Devil at times would emanate from him, and it sounded nothing like him,” he said, adding that both he and his sister were completely under Naidoo’s spell.

He also said that Naidoo controlled their finances and would take any money they would get from their parents.

Before breaking down, Hardus told the court that he feels terrible about what he did, and can’t be alone because it eats away at him.

“I am seeing a psychologist at Westville Prison and I am consoled by my Bible,” he said, clutching it. The trial continues this morning.

• rowan.sewchurran@witness.co.za

THIS is the text of a letter Hardus Lotter wrote four months before the killings, expressing disappointment in himself for failing to stand up for Mathew Naidoo when his father apparently fought with Nicolette over Naidoo.

Hardus told the court that he stood up for his father and asked Nicolette to watch the way she spoke to him. Mathew then allegedly told Hardus he had disappointed God by doing so and had to redeem himself.

MY THOUGHTS: As a person I have grown substantially, but lacking personal strength in terms of interacting with people. I wish I wasn’t so soft, I wish I was harder, I wish I trusted God more and talk to him other than overburdening my brother.

Dear God, i feel terrible, but because you believe in me I will never give up, I don’t care what it takes I have to correct this. My parents are two pathetic jokes of people I have lost all respect for them, they hurt my brother, they belittled your authority of God, the bastards will pay, as well as anyone who stands in my way!

This is it, I’ve had it with people and their petty little thoughts, minds and action.

Please god forgive me, say your will and I will do so. those who oppose me I will try to crush beneath my feet.

I Love you God, Praise the great Lord God in Heaven, Power to God.

---

Below are the words in a letter, Hardus Lotter wrote four months before the killings, to express disappointment in himself for failing to stand up for Mathew Naidoo when his dad apparently fought with Nicolette over him (Mathew).

Hardus told the court that he stood up for his dad, and asked Nicolette to watch the manner in which she speaks to him. Mathew then allegedly told Hardus, he had disappointed God by doing so and had to redeem himself.

MY THOUGHTS: As a person I have grown substantially, but lacking personal strength in terms of interacting with people. I wish I wasn’t so soft, I wish I was harder, I wish I trusted God more and talk to him other than overburdening my brother.

Dear God, i feel terrible, but because you believe in me I will never give up, I don’t care what it takes I have to correct this. My parents are two pathetic jokes of people I have lost all respect for them, they hurt my brother, they belittled your authority of God, the bastards will pay, as well as anyone who stands in my way!

This is it, I’ve had it with people and their petty little thoughts, minds and action.

Please god forgive me, say your will and I will do so. those who oppose me I will try to crush beneath my feet.

I Love you God, Praise the great Lord God in Heaven, Power to God.

The sketch depicts the Devil in a torture rack with Hardus holding a sharp knife beside him. Hydrogen gas and a bunsen burner are also depicted with a flame under the devil and a pool of the devil’s blood.

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