Satanic ritual was 'pre-planned'

2011-11-17 22:36
Johannesburg - Bail applications by two of the five youths accused of setting alight two girls in a suspected satanic ritual were denied on Thursday.

The Johannesburg Magistrate's Court could find no reason to justify granting bail to the pair.

"I am not nearly convinced that there are exceptional circumstances justifying the release of either the accused on bail," Magistrate Lucas van der Schyff said.

Kirsty Theologo, 18, died at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital a week after being doused with petrol and set alight on a koppie behind the Linmeyer swimming pool in Julius Street on the night of Friday October 21. A 14-year-old friend of hers was also burnt, but she survived.

The five youths are charged with murder and attempted murder.

The bail applications were brought by Lester Moody, 18, and Jeremy King, 18. They stared at their hands when the ruling was made.

Psychological evaluation

Bernadette Lockhart, a family friend of the two girls, was happy bail had been denied. "We feel that we have won the first battle," she said.

Bail applications by the other three youths, Lindon Wagner, 21, Robin Harwood, 18, and Harvey Isha, 23, were postponed until Friday.

They could not proceed on Thursday as Wagner and Harwood had requested a psychological evaluation and Isha was not ready to apply for bail.

All five would be held at the Johannesburg prison until their next court appearance on Wednesday, when they would be joined in the dock by a sixth accused, a 16-year-old girl.

The court would decide on that day if the trial would be postponed for further investigation or be moved to the South Gauteng High Court.


Public prosecutor Colleen Ryan said the six youths who attacked Theologo and her friend took a knife, candles and a Bible to the koppie.

She said this was not a normal survival kit and was taken along with a purpose, suggesting pre-planning.

Even if Theologo consented to be sacrificed, assisted suicide was illegal, Ryan said.

She said Moody had received a suspended sentence for assault when he was a minor, which showed a disposition to violence.

He should, therefore, not be granted bail.

In his ruling, Van der Schyff said that granting the two bail would upset the community.

"I believe that we can go wider than that and say any law-abiding citizen in general would be outraged when people commit horrendous acts and were released on bail."

On Wednesday, the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Joseph Yende, told the court a public outcry could be expected if the two got bail.

Bought petrol

Yende testified that Harvey stopped to buy petrol and that the group drank vodka and everyone, except Theologo's 14-year-old friend, smoked dagga at the koppie.

He told the court Wagner picked up a brick and drew a shape resembling a triangle on the ground. Candles were lit and Moody, King, Wagner, Harwood and the 16-year-old girl prayed.

Yende testified that King throttled Theologo and that Moody tied her hands. Moody then throttled Theologo's friend. She fainted.

He said Wagner hit Theologo on the head with a brick to stop her from struggling.

According to Yende, Wagner then doused Theologo with petrol and set her alight. Whether her friend was also set alight or caught fire when she tried to put out the flames on Theologo was unclear.

By that time, the other six youths had left the scene.

Yende said the two girls were victims of a religious sacrifice.

Suggested sacrifice

He said King had told him that, at a party three weeks before the attack, Theologo suggested she be sacrificed.

On Wednesday, Lockhart testified that she spoke to the 16-year-old girl and Isha at the hospital a week after the attack.

They had told her the attack was related to satanism.

After the attack, the two girls walked back to Theologo's house, 2km away, for help.

"[The other girl] got tired about two blocks away so Kirsty carried her on her back," Lockhart said.

The 14-year-old girl was undergoing skin grafts and scraping to try and minimise the damage done when she was burnt.

Wagner, Harwood, Moody and King handed themselves over to the police and appeared in court for the first time on October 25.

Isha was arrested a few days later, as was the 16-year-old girl.
Read more on:    kirsty theologo  |  johannesburg  |  ritual crimes

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