Murderer ‘was part of our family’

2014-05-20 11:33
Stefan Schutte is supported in court by his wife Moonyeen (left), brother Matthias, and mother-in-law Nina Lowe. (Shan Pillay, The Witness)

Stefan Schutte is supported in court by his wife Moonyeen (left), brother Matthias, and mother-in-law Nina Lowe. (Shan Pillay, The Witness)

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Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - The day before three members of the Schutte family were brutally murdered by a trusted employee and his cohorts at Richmond, their son, Stefan, had offered the killer help to further his studies.

Stefan Schutte, who found his parents, Ekard, 76, and Elizabeth, 66, and brother, Lutz, 33, stabbed to death at Springfield farm in KwaZulu-Natal on 2 March, said on Monday he’d like to ask Zamo Maduna, 19, who’d worked for them, why he murdered his family.

“I just can’t comprehend how this can be done.

“How can you murder people you worked with and who trusted you? He was part of our family,” Stefan Schutte said at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

“It’s madness. You can’t describe it,” Schutte said, speaking about the 1 March murders.

“There is nowhere you can go. Life carries on but the pain is there every day,” he said.

Supported by his wife Moonyeen, mother-in-law Nina Lowe, and his brother Matthias, he spoke out publicly for the first time about the crime.

His family members were killed after Lutz flew out from Germany for their father’s 77th birthday celebration that weekend.

Sentencing

The family was at court for the anticipated sentencing of Maduna, Siphesihle Ngubane, 20, and Lindokuhle Khoza, 18, who pleaded guilty to the three murders within weeks of being arrested.

The case didn’t go on after it emerged that a pre-sentence report alleges Ngubane had suffered from “delusions” in the past.

Defence attorney Zina Anastasiou and State advocate Candy Kander told Acting Judge Louis Barnard they both agreed that justice demanded that Ngubane be interviewed by a psychiatrist before the case continues.

The trial was adjourned to 29 and 30 July.

Stefan Schutte said he’s compiled an eight-page victim impact statement detailing the effects the family slaying had on him and the rest of his family.

That report will be presented in court when the trial resumes.

“The biggest problem I have is that these guys have now pleaded guilty but they would not have done so if they had not been caught by the police... There is a lot of anger that my parents had to go through something like that.

“I don’t think anyone deserves to be treated like that... It’s just horrible,” Stefan Schutte said, his voice trembling.

‘It’s madness’

He said what made it worse was that one of the killers was someone they trusted.

Schutte said Maduna had started working for them two years earlier. The day before the murders Stefan spoke to Maduna about his aspirations.

“He said he’d like to work in an office one day. I said he should see me on Monday and we could look into some courses and how we can help him. Then he goes and murders my family,” he said.

“It’s madness. You can’t describe it,” he said.

He said the killers could have stopped after murdering his father, but they went on to kill two more people.

Schutte said he wasn’t sure if his father’s sawmill business would continue. If it closes 18 families will lose their livelihood.

Schutte said the deaths of his parents, who’d resided on the farm since 1991, was a blow to everyone who knew them.

Until Monday, the trial had been held in camera because Khoza was a minor, but he has since turned 18, and the trial is now open to the public.

Members of victim support group SA CAN - including Kita Karg whose own mother, Lorraine, and employees Hilda Linyane and Zakius Mhlongo were murdered in 2010 - were among those who offered words of comfort to the Schutte family at court.

Murder plan

When they pleaded guilty, the killers admitted having planned to rob and to kill Ekard Schutte after luring him to an outbuilding on his farm. The plan was masterminded by Maduna.

After stabbing him multiple times outside they entered the house, and laid in wait for Elizabeth - who had the safe keys - and who had gone to fetch Lutz from the airport. When mother and son entered they were overpowered. Lutz was also stabbed to death and Elizabeth was bound and gagged. After forcing her to open the safe, Ngubane cut her throat.

The killers then poured petrol over the bodies and set them alight as part of a plan to destroy evidence at the crime scene.

 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  farm attacks
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