'Satanic' victim forgetful, court hears

By Drum Digital
19 April 2013

The medication taken by a girl who survived an apparent satanic ritual in which she and her friend were set on fire, made her forget certain facts about the attack, she testified on Friday.

The High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court heard the girl, a minor, was taking morphine to ease the pain of her burn wounds.

On October 21, 2011, Kirsty Theologo and the girl, who was 14 at the time, were doused with petrol and set alight in an apparent satanic ritual. Theologo died in hospital while her friend survived.

The court heard how the girl suffered burns to her neck, up to her chin, and her back.

She was first treated in hospital and later taken to a rehabilitation centre. The burns were so severe she could not bath for nearly four months.

The four accused -- Lindon Wagner, Robin Harwood, Harvey Isha, and Courtney Daniels -- have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The girl told the court she could have forgotten to mention certain facts about the attack in a statement to police.

"In hospital I was on morphine and I remember much more now than I did in hospital," she testified.

She was responding to defence lawyer Enrico Guarneri, who asked her where exactly his client, Courtney Daniels, was when the fire was started.

"In your evidence you said that Courtney and Lester [Moody] started making the fire, but in your statement you say Lester and the other boys started the fire, not Courtney," Guarneri put it to the girl.

Two other teenagers involved entered into a plea bargain with the State. Moody and Jeremy King, both 18, were each sentenced to 17 years imprisonment, five years of which were suspended.

"Well, I did say that, I know, but I could have been mistaken," she replied.

Guarneri, who was reprimanded by the judge earlier for asking unnecessary questions, asked the girl if she had been fed information about the attack after being discharged from hospital.

"Would you agree that some of your evidence after rehab and after your treatment, those things [you were told] influenced you to some extent?"

The lawyer made reference to hearsay that the two girls were given brake fluid to drink on the koppie.

He asked her if the substance, which she said had made her dizzy and tasted odd, was brake fluid and where she had first heard of it in relation to the attack.

"From hearing other stuff a lot of my memory came back. In hospital I was worried about myself," she said.

"But even at that stage you... when you were on morphine, you could still differentiate between the truth and a lie?"

The girl agreed but said: "Honestly, I think I got confused while writing the statement.

"But I was there."

The trial continues.

-Sapa

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