Town reels after triple-murder arrest

2012-08-24 20:00
The Steenkamp farmhouse in Naauwhoek, Northern Cape. (Emile Hendricks, Volksblad)

The Steenkamp farmhouse in Naauwhoek, Northern Cape. (Emile Hendricks, Volksblad)

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Kimberley - Driving over a hill into Griekwastad, the first building that meets the eye is the church, towering over the tiny Northern Cape town.

The last building on the main street is the courthouse, opposite the police station, which has been the centre of attention this week as the close-knit community followed the arrival of a teenage boy, accused of killing three locals.

The entire town can be taken in with a glance from left to right down the main street, lined with old buildings with big verandas stretching onto the sidewalk.

Murder not known

A resident says murder is not known in this town, where people leave their cars unlocked and the most serious crime is theft.

The victims were from a prominent and well-off family - farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christelle, 43, and their daughter Marthella, 14. They were shot dead on their farm Naauwhoek on April 6.

Most of the locals are reluctant to speak to the media, with only one or two prepared to voice their opinions, on condition of anonymity.

"We are curious because it is something that happened amongst us and it's well-known people," said an old man, who said he had been friends with Deon Steenkamp's great-grandfather and grandfather.

Tragedy

"This whole thing is a tragedy," the visibly emotional man said.

On Friday, the teenager arrested for the triple-murder cut a lone figure in the dock, wearing a white and grey sweater and black jeans.

He looked tense on the second day of his bail application, as a young man from a family supporting him passed him a water bottle.

He had whispered conversations with this family, as Deon Steenkamp's sister, wearing a camel jacket, jeans and brown boots, looked on from the public gallery. She listened intently to testimony from the police investigator on how her brother, sister-in-law, and niece were shot dead.

- SAPA

Read more on:    deon steenkamp  |  kimberley  |  griekwastad murders
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