Not a murderer, says alleged killer

2012-06-07 22:31
Albert van Vuuren has told the North Gauteng High Court he could not have killed his wife because "he would never do something like that".. (File, Beeld)

Albert van Vuuren has told the North Gauteng High Court he could not have killed his wife because "he would never do something like that".. (File, Beeld)

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Pretoria - He knew he could not have killed his wife because "he would never do something like that", a Bronkhorstspruit liquor shop manager told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Albert van Vuuren testified in his own defence after Judge Elizabeth Kubushi turned down his application for a discharge.

She said there was enough evidence on which a reasonable person could convict Van Vuuren on a charge of murdering his wife Monica, on his family's farm near Bronkhorstspruit, two years ago.

A pathologist earlier testified that the frail looking Mrs Van Vuuren had been stabbed 25 times and had a broken neck and jaw.

Her death had been caused by a spinal injury and stab wounds to both sides of her chest, which penetrated her heart and caused her lungs to collapse.

Van Vuuren testified that he could not remember what had happened that fateful night, after drinking a sleeping pill with liquor.

He said he and his friend Gordon McCullum had been drinking brandy and watching DVDs since the afternoon while his wife had worked in the storeroom packing eggs for their business. She later came in to work in the kitchen.

"I went to the kitchen to ask my wife why she wanted my phone. She said she was looking for a number.

"I said 'oh' and turned around. The next thing I can remember is waking up in a police cell with cuts on my hand and head.

"It felt like I was in a dream, but it wasn't a dream. Others in the cell told me they were saying I had killed a woman," he said.

Van Vuuren testified that McCullum had visited him several times while he was in custody, and kept on telling him to remember that he had killed his wife, which he always denied.

"He put it as if he wanted me to admit that I had killed my wife, but I knew nothing about it.

"... I did not commit the murder. I know.

"If you kill someone you must surely remember it. I am not a murderer.

"I would not do something like that. I know myself. I was not even angry with my wife," he said.

He testified that he and his wife had marital problems in the last five years before her death and had stopped having sex, although they still slept in the same bed.

He said he did not want a divorce as he did not want to leave his wife destitute, and would actually have been thankful if she had an affair so that another man could look after her.

He testified that he was happy when he received a divorce letter from her, but did not agree with all of the demands she made in the letter, which would have given her everything and left him with nothing.

He claimed his wife had for some strange reason demanded that he should not discuss her divorce plans with his mother, even though she never liked his mother and used to badmouth her.

He testified at length about the mental health of McCullum, who suffered from bipolar disorder and was admitted twice to a mental institution while living with Van Vuuren and his wife.

According to Van Vuuren, McCullum used to drink a lot and he had seen him swallowing a handful of pills with his brandy that afternoon.

He denied McCullum's evidence that he had woken him in the middle of the night and confessed to killing his wife.

He also denied the evidence of a policewoman, who said Van Vuuren had told her he had killed his wife because she had tried to poison him and wanted to divorce him.

Van Vuuren said McCullum had become "paranoid" and had actually made the startling claim that Van Vuuren's wife was trying to poison him on the afternoon before the murder.

The trial continues.

- SAPA
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