Gruesome details of farm murders emerge

2012-08-24 14:40
The 16-year-old suspected of murdering a Griekwastad family is led into the town’s court where his bail application is being held. (Emile Hendricks, Volksblad)

The 16-year-old suspected of murdering a Griekwastad family is led into the town’s court where his bail application is being held. (Emile Hendricks, Volksblad)

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Kimberley - Gruesome details about the murder of a Griekwastad farmer and his family emerged during Friday's bail application of a 16-year-old boy arrested for the crime.

Police investigator Dirk de Waal testified as a State witness in opposing bail.

De Waal said farmer Deon Steenkamp was found with three gunshot wounds, one in the right shoulder, one behind the ear, and another in the chest. His wife Christelle was shot in the shoulder, neck, and back. Their daughter Marthella was shot twice in the body and twice in the head.

De Waal told the court that ballistics experts concluded that a .357 Magnum was first used in the murders. The final shots came from a .22 rifle.

Severely beaten

The autopsy determined that the father and daughter had blunt injuries to their heads.

"She was beaten severely with an object at the back of her head," De Waal said.

Despite media rumours that no care was taken with the murder scene, experts handled it professionally, De Waal testified.

He said the crime scene was first video recorded. Police who entered the area were dressed in "scene-packs", special clothing used to prevent contamination of evidence.

De Waal said police investigated the murder holistically and excluded other potential scenarios, including a farm attack, revenge, or a murder-suicide.

The boy showed no emotion when he was arrested in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

"He was as he is today," De Waal said, referring to his calm demeanour in the dock. The boy sat with his elbows on his knees, listening attentively.

Smiling when he heard news

While driving back to Kimberly after the boy's arrest, they heard news of the arrest on a radio news bulletin. In the rear-view mirror De Waal could see him smiling.

De Waal testified the boy was linked to the crime with DNA found at the murder scene, including a T-shirt that belonged to him. He said he had absolute confidence in his evidence and in the expert opinions he had received.

It would be in the interests of justice for the boy to be kept in custody.

"These were gruesome, gruesome murders."

The bail hearing would resume on Friday afternoon with the cross-examination of the State's witness.

Deon Steenkamp, 44, Christelle, 43, and Marthella, 14, were shot dead on their farm Naauwhoek on April 6.

The State is attempting to prove three murder charges against the boy. He cannot be named because he is a minor.

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