Nicolette Lotter 'on religious mission'
Durban - Nicolette Lotter was on a religious mission to kill her parents, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban heard on Thursday.
"She was on a journey to find peace," clinical psychologist Laurens Schlebusch told the court.
Nicolette, 29, her brother Hardus, 23, and Naidoo, 25, stand accused of murdering the siblings' parents Maria Magdalena "Rickie" Lotter, 52, and Johannes Petrus "Johnny" Lotter, 53, in July 2008.
Naidoo, 25, initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed his plea to guilty. He said he did not murder the couple, but helped cover up the crimes.
When Nicolette met Naidoo she had spiritual problems. She was troubled and believed her maid was using witchcraft on her.
"Her own need to find answers about religion made her vulnerable," said Schlebusch, who described her as hyper-religious.
"That is when religion is taken out of context and someone becomes obsessed with it. There are elements of a dysfunctional belief system and thought."
He said the purpose of religion changed.
Nicolette researched the Bible fanatically, and could quote verses and chapters, Schlebusch said.
He testified that Nicolette was an abused woman, who suffered from anxiety and stress.
"She was in an abnormal and dysfunctional relationship with Naidoo. He abused her emotionally and physically."
Schlebusch described the type of influence Naidoo had on Nicolette as "coercive persuasion".
"This is done by reprogramming someone's thinking, by breaking down their beliefs and introducing a new belief system."
Schlebusch said this was done by rituals performed by Naidoo, who claimed to be the third son of God.
"This is done by an intelligent and charismatic individual."
He told the court that Nicolette knew killing her parents was wrong but believed she was doing the right thing.
"She expressed sincere remorse and felt guilty. She admitted responsibility for the murders."
Schlebusch said Nicolette did not show any signs of mental illness. She had a history of depression.
The trial continues on Friday.