Pair guilty of killing teen at ranger camp

2015-02-27 12:16
Alex de Koker, murder accused owner of a military-style camp, appears at the Vereeniging Regional Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Alex de Koker, murder accused owner of a military-style camp, appears at the Vereeniging Regional Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Alex de Koker and Michael Erasmus were found guilty of murder, child abuse and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, by the Vereeniging Regional Court on Friday.

They killed 15-year-old Raymond Buys at the Echo Wild Game Rangers camp in 2011.

"Accused one [De Koker] was a pathetic witness," Magistrate Retha Willemse said.

It was "absurd" for him to have claimed that he was not aware of Buys's injuries.

"Accused one tried to mislead the court. De Koker didn't want Buys to return to his mother, because he was benefiting financially from having Buys at the camp," she said.

Willemse found Erasmus was a willing participant in the abuse.

"The testimony of accused two that he followed instructions because he didn't have any other option is rejected by the court.

"Accused two didn't just follow instructions from accused one to abuse Buys, but also did it out of his own initiative."

The fact that accommodation was provided for Erasmus and his girlfriend and that a bank account was opened for him, was motivation for him to continue what he was doing, she said.

Earlier, Willemse detailed the abuse meted out to Buys.

‘Wake him up’

He was punched, struck with a spade, a stick, and a "piele wapper" (60cm-long rubber pipe). He was forced to eat soap powder, pick up his own faeces with his mouth and was kicked and slapped while unconscious to "wake him up".

Witnesses testified that during his time at the camp, Buys was dirty, neglected and would soil himself. He could not walk properly and often collapsed.

They testified that De Koker would physically abuse Buys, claiming he was lazy, had a bad attitude and would pick at his wounds. He allegedly tried to commit suicide, which is why he was chained to his bed.

A doctor who examined Buys when he was admitted to hospital, a day before his death, found he was emaciated, had cigarette burns, was brain damaged and in a deep coma, had a broken arm, and signs of kidney failure.

He testified that some of the injuries were up to a month old and the worst he had ever seen.

After the judgment, Buys's mother Wilna burst into tears in the front row of the public gallery.

Erasmus went to the back of the court room to hold his five-day-old daughter.

Court proceedings

During proceedings, Erasmus, his dark brown hair slicked back, sat hunched forward in the dock with his chin resting on his hand. De Koker, wearing a bright pink shirt, stared straight ahead.

Posters put up by the NGO Women and Men Against Child Abuse adorned the fence surrounding the court.

"Life sentence for child killers," read one.

"Hou hulle in die tronk (Keep them in jail)," said another.

Two small, white handmade coffins each with a photo of Buys and the letters "RIP" on it were propped up against the fence.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  child abuse

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