'Vampire' named on Facebook, Anika inquest delayed

2015-09-18 12:53
Damian Treeby after the inquest. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Damian Treeby after the inquest. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Pretoria - The inquest into Anika Smit's gruesome murder was very suddenly put on hold on Friday after a member of the public posted a photograph of Damian Treeby - "Vampire" - on Facebook and called him a murderer.

This was in violation of a court order that he may not be named.

Magistrate Pierre Wessels ordered that Treeby may now be named.

Treeby has not been charged with anything but was answering questions at the inquest as part of the State's attempt to get a better idea about what exactly happened to Anika on March 10, 2010, when she was found dead. She had been raped, her throat had been slit and her hands were chopped off and missing.

Wessels said he was disappointed not only because he had given Treeby his word that his identity would be protected but also because it was an order of the court.

Media ‘handled testimony with professionalism’

Up until now Treeby has been known as "Vampire", the name he uses on Mxit.

Inquest lead prosecutor Tania Carstens has gone to great lengths to ensure that Treeby would not be identified and the media had handled the testimony with dignity and professionalism. It was just one member of the public in an age of social media, Wessels said.

After the post was raised at the beginning of proceedings, Carstens applied for the inquest to be held in camera but Anton Van Staden, who is representing Anika's then-boyfriend Nico Venter, objected saying that his client's identity had been splashed all over the media when he was arrested and then later released.

Wessels said even though Treeby could be named and his photograph could be published, he asked the media not to rush at him with flashes.

He said Carstens must be given time to explain the ramifications of the turn of events.

Any other witnesses in the inquest so far may still not be named.

After consultation with Carstens, Treeby indicated that he would like the support of a legal representative for the rest of the inquest.

He has testified about his despair at being bullied and how he became friends with a group of people at school interested in the occult because they were protecting him from the bullies.

Blood shots at party

On Thursday he told the inquest that he had been to a party where shooters, which may have been blood, were given to guests at the door. People were seen drawing blood from one another.

He had also researched the occult and spells.

He said he knew Anika and they walked home from school together sometimes - one of his friends was attracted to her - but he did not know her well and had never been in her house.

While the court was fixing a return date, all the lawyers present offered to reach out to their colleagues to find a lawyer for Treeby.

Wessels said that if he felt his life was in any danger, Treeby should immediately contact Carstens.

Later Carstens added that there would be an investigation into how Treeby had been identified.

Treeby, who is now out of school and working, left the court very quickly as reporters ran after him for a photograph.

The inquest will resume on October 8.

Read more on:    anika smit  |  pretoria  |  crime

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