‘Sunday rapist’ pleads with court for smaller cell

2012-07-24 00:00

THE trial of Johannes Jacobus (Jaco) Steyn, the suspected “Sunday rapist”, started in the Supreme Court sitting in the brand-new Palm Ridge Court in Thokoza on the East Rand yesterday.

Steyn is charged with the abduction, rape and murder of Louise de Waal (17) and the murder of Lazanne Farmer (14) of Pretoria West.

Lazanne died on September 5, 2010, when she jumped out of the bakkie of a man who had abducted her and a 16-year-old friend. The friend was later raped in the veld.

In addition to the murder charges, Steyn is standing trial on 11 charges of rape, 10 of indecent assault, two of assault, 10 of kidnapping and one of attempted kidnapping.

His 11 suspected victims were all between 11 and 18 years old.

Steyn, who took the stand with a small brown Bible and some notepaper, pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges.

The 18-year-old girl, who may not be named in terms of an order by Judge Sita Kolbe, told how Louise was abducted on October 12 last year.

She said Louise looked scared and gestured to her to run away and phone someone for help. “My best friend was taken from me. I will never forget the man’s face. I will never forget what happened on that day,” she said, weeping.

Louise’s charred body was found on a farm near Maropeng in the Krugersdorp area.

Shireen de Waal, Louise’s mother, sobbed in the witness box while identifying her daughter’s possessions in photographs.

Steyn asked the court to order that he be moved back to a smaller cell with just one other accused as he was allegedly being victimised in the common holding cell. Steyn was reportedly moved from a small cell to the common cell on Saturday with some 200 accused after two illegal cellphones were found with him.

He allegedly used these phones to send intimidating text messages to some of the witnesses.

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