Morne's parents: Teen tormented by peers' ridicule

2008-08-21 00:00

Krugersdorp - He wanted to be somebody, said the shattered parents of Mornē Harmse, who has been charged with the murder of a fellow pupil at the Nic Diederichs Technical High School in Krugersdorp.

Jacques Pretorius (16) died after his aorta was slashed open with a samurai sword.

In their first statement after the murder, Mornē's parents, Machiel and Liza, conveyed their sympathy to the Pretorius family.

"We realise your most precious possession has been taken from you through the actions of our child.

"We are terribly sorry and wish the circumstances were different - that we could change them," they told Beeld in a statement.

"Mornē is very small and thin for his age and was ridiculed often.

"During a visit to Mornē yesterday, we saw that we had never realised the true impact that the physical and emotional torment had had on him. He explained to us that he felt so powerless and worthless, that he wanted to make a point."

Mornē's parents said their son had gone to school with the intention of scaring and hurting "them". His intentions were not directed at specific people.

"But [he] did not mean to kill anyone. He wanted to vent his built-up frustration and his feeling of powerlessness.

"He wanted to be somebody."

Machiel and Liza said it seems as if Mornē experimented with Satanism and that this provided some measure of protection to his psyche.

"It was as if he could escape with this idea - that he would experience certain powers that would offer him a protection mechanism."

Mornē has apparently told them: "When I put on the mask, everything became dead quiet and my body moved.

"I wanted to stop, but I couldn't."

The couple said: "During our visit [to the cells], Mornē was terribly disorientated and he only realised yesterday that someone had died. He could basically not remember anything about what had happened.

"Two lives have been destroyed by these incomprehensible events. We call on people not to judge us. Please grant us time to pick up the pieces of our lives," the couple ended their statement.

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