Suicide 'won't impact' Barbie case

2010-03-09 09:11

Pretoria - Wild animals had started gnawing at the hands and feet of Jeannine du Plessis, 21, one of Cézanne Visser's victims, when the police found her body in Botswana on Sunday morning.

Jeannine's mother, Marié du Plessis, said on Monday that, according to the police, her daughter had been dead for two days when they found her body where she had hanged herself from the branch of a tree in the Kgalagadi area.

According to Du Plessis, Jeannine was HIV-positive.

Du Plessis said Johan Fourie, Jeannine's boyfriend whom she lived with in Botswana, identified her body on Monday.

'Cézanne ruined my daughter's life'

Jeannine's body will probably be brought to South Africa on Tuesday or Wednesday.

"The post-mortem was done on Monday. Her body will now be embalmed before Botswana's department of foreign affairs takes it to the South African border, where her father and the undertaker will be waiting."

Du Plessis said Jeannine would have stayed in Botswana for six weeks before she and Fourie would have come to South Africa for a week-long visit.

"Jeannine was a wonderful child. Cézanne ruined my daughter's life."

Visser was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for sex crimes with young women and girls from children's homes.

In Jeannine's case she was charged with rape, but this could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt and she was found guilty of indecent assault. During Visser's sentencing, acting Judge Chris Eksteen said Jeannine's life had been ripped to shreds.

"Personally, I feel seven years is not nearly long enough," said Du Plessis.

Visser is currently out on R10 000 bail pending her application for leave to appeal.

Suicide will have no impact on appeal

Johann Engelbrecht, Visser's legal representative, said on Monday that Jeannine's suicide would have no impact on Visser's application.

According to him one can't claim or say Visser is to blame for the suicide.

Du Plessis said: "After the incident with Cézanne, Jeannine changed and ran away from home.

"She became involved with Nigerians and drugs and later tested positive for HIV. She always said her baby is a miracle, because the little girl is HIV-negative.

"We recently had her tested for the third time since her birth and she's still HIV-negative."

Du Plessis said her granddaughter is the spitting image of Jeannine. "It's like I'm raising Jeannine all over again."