'Sunday Rapist' being victimised - lawyer

2012-07-23 22:36
A judge has allowed Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the "Sunday rapist", to be moved to a single cell after his lawyer claimed he was being victimised. (File, AP)

A judge has allowed Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the "Sunday rapist", to be moved to a single cell after his lawyer claimed he was being victimised. (File, AP)

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'Sunday rapist' pleads not guilty

2012-07-24 07:57

Media was given access to the trial of Johannes Steyn at the 11th hour. Watch scenes from inside the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court during the emotional proceedings. WATCH

Johannesburg - A judge on Monday allowed Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the "Sunday Rapist", to be moved to a single cell after his lawyer claimed he was being victimised.

The State objected to lawyer Anton Lerm's request,  saying cellphones had been found in Steyn's possession and it was concerned about the intimidation of witnesses, but Judge Sita Kolbe allowed him to be moved.

Kolbe asked prison authorities to remove him from the cell he currently shared with three other prisoners and to hold him in a single cell for the night.

The trial, which has been moved to the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court from the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, while renovations are done, was postponed until Tuesday morning.

Earlier on Monday, Steyn pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges against him. The 36-year-old appeared calm and held an Afrikaans Bible as the charges were read out. He answered "not guilty" to each of them.

Steyn has been charged with the murders of Louise De Waal and 14-year-old Lazanne Farmer.

He is also charged with 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.

The 11 girls he allegedly attacked between 2008 and 2011 were aged between 11 and 18.

Kolbe initially ruled that no pictures or videos of Steyn or his alleged victims could be taken during the trial.

However, when Steyn later withdrew his objection, Kolbe ruled that photographs and videos would be allowed as long as the identities of minor witnesses were respected.

Supporters of De Waal and Farmer were in court. They wore badges showing De Waal's face, and white ribbons.

Farmer, of Elandspoort in Pretoria, was kidnapped in September 2010 by a man in a bakkie.

She was killed when she jumped out of the bakkie in an attempt to escape.

Police said Steyn had confessed to being the "Sunday rapist", but not to killing De Waal. He has allegedly raped a number of young girls in Gauteng and the North West, mostly on Sundays, since 2008.

Threatened to shoot

A friend of de Waal tearfully testified how the death had changed her life.

"My best friend was taken from me," the now 18-year-old told the South Gauteng High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Alberton.

"I will never forget the guy who did it. I will never forget his face," she said, crying.

Judge Kolbe has ordered that the girl, who was with De Waal when she was kidnapped, not be named, as she was a minor at the time.

Steyn allegedly abducted De Waal in October last year, while she was on her way to school in Roodepoort. It was just before her 17th birthday. Her burnt body was found on a Magaliesberg farm later that day.

Steyn handed himself over at the Margate police station in KwaZulu-Natal the next day.

The girl who testified on Monday identified a pair of earrings and a belly ring belonging to De Waal.

Asked to explain the events leading up to her friend's kidnapping, she told the court a silver bakkie drove past them a few times while they were walking to school, which had made her uneasy.

The bakkie made a U-turn and stopped next to them.

"He jumped out of the bakkie and pointed a gun at us. He said Louise must get into the bakkie."

She said the man grabbed De Waal's arm and tried to pull her into the vehicle.

She held on to her friend's arm, but the man said he would shoot her if she did not let go.

"He pulled her out of my hands," she said wiping tears from her face.

Sobbed

De Waal's mother, Shereen, was visibly upset before taking to the stand.

Asked to identify the contents of her daughter's school bag, she shook and sobbed, and pressed the photographs to her chest.

A tenant who lived on Steyn's property at the time of De Waal's murder, Hermanus Mulder, said he saw a woman in the car with Steyn on the day of the murder.

He too became emotional when he explained how the police who searched Steyn's bakkie had opened rubbish bin bags and found the teenager's school bag.

"Dis daai bliksem [It's that scoundrel]," he shouted with tears in his eyes, pointing at Steyn.

It was put to Mulder that the bag could have been thrown over the wall, but he said it was impossible, considering where it was on the back of the bakkie.

As Mulder left the stand, he cursed Steyn under his breath, ignoring pleas by family members to desist.

"Jou bliksemse skelm [You bloody crook]," he said.

Read more on:    jaco steyn  |  lazanne farmer  |  louise de waal  |  johannesburg

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