Tears at 'Sunday Rapist' trial

2012-07-23 17:45
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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 friend of murdered teenager Louise de Waal tearfully testified on Monday how the death had changed her life.

"My best friend was taken from me," the now 18-year-old girl 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 Sita 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.

Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the "Sunday Rapist", 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.

De Waal's burnt body was found on a Magaliesberg farm later the same day.

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

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.

Pleaded not guilty

Steyn has 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 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 earlier ruled that no pictures or video of the accused, or victims, would be allowed during the trial.

"For the moment, I will not allow any filming or photography," Kolbe said.

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.

The trial has been moved to the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court from the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg while renovations are done.

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 apparently 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.

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

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