‘Monster’ found guilty

2013-07-16 00:00

SOMEONE who lies about being attacked does not remember small details like having to plead with their eyes because their mouth had been taped closed.

This was what Judge Bert Bam said in finding the so-called Modimolle monster Johan Kotzé guilty of murder in the Pretoria High Court yesterday.

He found Kotzé and one of his co-accused, Andries Sithole, guilty of murdering Conrad Bonnette, (19), the son of his then wife, Ina Bonnette.

The other two co-accused, Pieta Mohlake and Sello Mphaka, were acquitted on the murder charge.

The four men were all convicted of kidnapping and of four charges relating to the rape of Bonnette.

“It is obvious that all four are guilty of it,” said the judge.

He also found Kotzé guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, instead of the more serious charge of attempted murder.

He said all of Bonnette’s pleading with her eyes was wasted on her attackers, who cruelly tortured her with several implements and raped her in turns.

The judge said Sithole was also guilty of the murder of Bonnette’s son, Conrad, because he knew why Kotzé had summoned Conrad to Bonnette’s house, but did nothing to prevent the teenager’s arrival.

He said although Bonnette’s evidence was not without fault, she was a honest and credible witness. He said it was an extremely traumatic experience for her to give evidence in court and it was therefore not unreasonable for her to make mistakes.

Her evidence had the “ring of truth”, according to the judge.

He said very few witnesses who were lying would have been able to think of as much detail as she did, including having to plead with her attackers using only her eyes.

He said it would have been “ridiculous” to believe Kotzé’s version of the events, namely that he wanted to protect Bonnette against the three co-accused.

He said the evidence against the accused was overwhelming and all the evidence pointed to a pre-planned attack.

He said the fact that only Kotzé knew Bonnette was on her way home, his own untruthful testimony and the handy availability of the tape, and the different implements with which Bonnette wase tortured, proved it was premeditated.

The judge said this proof of pre-planning the crimes had a “fatal impact” on Kotzé’s defence, which was that he could not be held accountable for his actions on that day on a plea of non-pathological incapacity.

He said the fact that Kotzé remembered every detail up to the day of the attack was very suspect and showed he was instead suffering from selective “amnesia”.

He said the truth was that Kotzé had planned the attack and had arranged for three men to help him rape and torture Bonnette.

The judge said the fact that Kotzé and Sithole bought three pairs of pantihose at a local store to disguise the men also formed an important part of the chain of pre-planning.

He said the evidence of Kotzé’s co-accused was littered with contradictions, lies and improbabilities.

The judge said their defence, that Kotzé had forced them to take part, did not make any sense as they did not give Bonnette any indication that they were attacking her against their will, and they also did not make use of several opportunities to escape when Kotzé had left them alone in the room.

He said Sithole knew Kotzé had summoned Conrad to Bonnette’s house and helped to watch the gate for his arrival and knew Kotzé would injure him, which made him an accomplice in the murder of Conrad.

He said it was evident that the four men had common intent to rape and torture Bonnette.

The matter was postponed to this morning for arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing.

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