Murdered girl's hands cut off

2010-03-12 08:03

Pretoria - A father arrived home from work on Wednesday to discover the body of his teenage daughter, naked and with her hands hacked off.

That morning, Johan Smit had said goodbye to his only child, 17-year-old Anika, before he left their home in the north of Pretoria for work.

When he got home she was dead and had presumably been raped. Her hands were cut off between the elbow and wrist and were missing.

"When I saw the dining room chairs were overturned, I knew something was wrong," said Smith, 54, from Theresapark, as he fought back his tears.

"I called her, but she didn't answer."

Body in bedroom

Moments later, Smit discovered his daughter's body in her bedroom.

Nothing was stolen.

Police spokesperson William Mahlaole said a post-mortem will confirm the cause of Anika's death and whether she was raped or indecently assaulted.

Anika, who lives with her father, was alone at the home on Wednesday. She had stayed home from school due to an ear infection.

Smit arrived home after work at about 16:00 and saw the outside gate and security gate standing open with their locks missing. Anika's scooter stood at the front door.

When he went into the house, he saw the dining room table had been moved and the chairs were overturned. When he called his daughter and she didn't answer, he went to her room.

"She was lying on the ground, naked. Both her hands were gone, they'd been cut off. They must have taken them."

Probably scratched murderer

Smit immediately went to his neighbour's house, where they called the police. According to Smit, the police were at the scene within minutes and were extremely professional.

"The police told me her neck was slashed six times. They are also investigating the possibility that she was raped."

Smit thinks she probably scratched her murderer(s), so her hands were cut off for fear that DNA under her fingernails could lead to prosecution.

According to Anika's father, it looks like she fought back and ran away.

On Wednesday morning Smit had arranged for Anika's medication to be delivered to the house.

At about lunchtime someone from the pharmacy called him and said they'd been at the house but no-one was there to receive the medication.

"I phoned Anika at lunchtime, but she didn't answer. I thought she was sleeping because she wasn't feeling well.

"When I got home, I saw what the problem was."

Flag at half-mast

The flag of Gerrit Maritz High School in Pretoria, where Anika was a Grade 11 pupil, was at half-mast on Thursday.

Steven Hearne, the principal, said Anika had been a pupil there since January this year. She had been there in Grade 8 and 9 as well, but then spent two years living with her mother, Charlotte, in Hartenbos.

"The school is in mourning," said Hearne.