Gay sex spot takes focus in Cape murder trial

2015-05-13 17:43
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - The policeman who investigated the murder of Stellenbosch paediatrician Dr Louis Heyns had been under the impression that the area where his body was found was used for social braais and not for prostitution.

Warrant Officer Hannes Niemand told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday that the patch of sand and bush near the putt-putt course, alongside Beach Road in Strand, had always been for social gatherings.

“I was not officially aware that this is a known area for male prostitutes,” he testified in Afrikaans, during the trial of Heyns’s alleged killer, 34-year-old Marthinus van der Walt.

The investigating officer told Judge Andre le Grange he had lived in the vicinity his whole life.

Van der Walt has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, kidnapping and murdering the paediatrician in May 2013.

In an affidavit read out this week, he claimed that Heyns requested sexual favours and he agreed, following him into a bushy area.

There Heyns had allegedly insulted and provoked Marthinus, whereafter, he hit Heyns with his fist and kicked him. He swore that he did not intend to kill him.

The doctor's body was found in a shallow, sandy grave in a bushy area just off Beach Road.

Niemand said they found an empty condom wrapper when digging in the sand near the grave. Officers also found used condoms scattered in the vicinity.

Heyns’s wife Dalene told the court earlier this week that she had never doubted or had any suspicions about his sexual behaviour or fidelity.

“I am convinced the allegation is unlikely. I believe this with my whole heart,” she said at the time.

She believed her husband was the victim of a hijacking.

But Gert Fourie said his client would testify that they met the doctor in the bushes near a toilet that night while drinking and taking drugs. He would further say that Heyns walked there voluntarily and denied that there was any hijacking.

Cellphone records

During his evidence-in-chief on Wednesday, Niemand explained that he used the doctor’s cellphone records to track down and arrest Marthinus, his brother Sarel van der Walt, 43, and Malmesbury businessman and scrapyard owner Juan Liedeman.

He said Marthinus became very emotional while being driven to Somerset West police station, saying he wanted to make his heart clean.

Niemand explained his rights and Van der Walt allegedly replied that he was prepared to take him to the body.

Sarel pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder and theft. He reached a plea bargain with the State last year and is currently serving a seven-year sentence.

Liedeman pleaded guilty to a charge of not having reasonable cause to believe the doctor’s stolen car was properly acquired.

He also entered a plea bargain and sentencing agreement and was handed a R10 000 fine or five years behind bars.

Half the fine and sentence were reportedly suspended for five years on condition that he not be convicted of a similar crime.

The State would call its next witness when the trial resumed on Thursday.

Read more on:    louis heyns  |  cape town  |  crime

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