Neighbour tells court of day Anika's body was found - As it happened

2016-02-29 12:30

The inquest into the murder and mutilation of teenager Anika Smit has wrapped for the day in Pretoria, with neighbour Roelof Pottas giving testimony on the day her body was found. WARNING: Graphic detail.

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Last Updated at 14:42
29 Feb 12:36

And that's a wrap for today, reports News24's Wim Pretorius from the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court.

Court dates have been set for the next person to testify on 17, 18 and 19 May.

Read on for how the gruesome details of Anika Smit's murder was retold in court by her father's neighbour, Roelof Pottas.

WARNING: Much of the details below are graphic in nature.


29 Feb 12:34

Pottas concludes his testimony.

The judge thanks Pottas for his involvement in the community regarding the case and that he took time out of his day to help the court search for answers.


29 Feb 12:29

Pottas is asked again about Johan covering up his daughter's private parts before allowing him to enter.

Pottas says it took only seconds.

Van Staden, the boyfriend's lawyer, says: "Sounds like a man who attached a great amount of value to his daughter.”


29 Feb 12:26

The State says friends of Anika will say that her father wasn't very harsh on her with regards to the time she stayed out at night with friends and that she regularly went to parties.

The court is shown a picture of Johan's face with a mark underneath his right eye. Pottas is asked if he knows it.

He says he doesn't remember the mark when Johan's daughter was killed.

Koekemoer, Johan's lawyer, interjects and says the picture was taken long afterwards.


29 Feb 12:18

He says Anika's father most certainly wasn't seeing anyone or in a relationship during the time of her death.  

The State asks Pottas if he has anything bad to say about Johan.

Pottas says no.


29 Feb 12:18

"But when they separated and her mother moved to the Cape, it must have had a big effect on Anika," Pottas says.  

"Johan gave a lot of attention to his daughter and maybe spoiled her a little bit when he bought her a motorbike and before that drove her everywhere she wanted to go."


29 Feb 12:17
Pottas said he cared a lot for Anika, and her parents both loved her in their own way as well.

29 Feb 12:17
Pottas said earlier that there was a break in once at Johan's house. He says it happened long after Anika's murder and he heard the alarm go off.

29 Feb 12:17
Pottas is shown 3 photos of boys in casual clothing. He says he doesn't know any of them.

29 Feb 12:16
Pottas: "I asked Johan if he called police. He said that he tried but didn't get any answer. I then phoned Chris Steyn from my phone and he came and called the police from Johan's house."

29 Feb 12:05

Pottas is asked about the instances he saw Anika and her father arguing.

He says he assumed first instance was about satanism.

Pottas says the second instance was when her father bought her a motorbike.

"I told her father that I wouldn't be happy if it was my child getting a motorbike at that age. I think that is what the second fight between them was about."


29 Feb 12:01

Koekemoer asks Pottas if he ever acted as someone who could murder his own daughter.

"No. Never," he replies.


29 Feb 12:01

Koekemoer asks Pottas to describe how Anika's father acted when he saw him.

"Before he said something I already saw something big was wrong. I immediately realised that he was shocked. He was very sad that evening and that's why I didn't want him to be alone and told him to stay over at our house."


29 Feb 11:59

Koekemoer asks Pottas how many times he saw her with the black nails and hair.

Pottas says about three times - only when they were both outside.


29 Feb 11:59
Pottas said that the gate to his pool was accessible from the street. He unlocked the gate and that's how Anika and her friends usually gained access to his swimming pool.

29 Feb 11:58

Koekemoer asks Pottas what injuries he noticed when he saw Anika's body.

"I saw a blood stain next to the right side of her head. Also saw blood on her neck and face and assumed there were also injuries on those parts of her body."


29 Feb 11:58

Koekemoer says Steyn said that Anika's breasts were also covered by the blanket.

Pottas says that is not true.


29 Feb 11:57

The lawyer of Anika’s father Willem Koekemoer asks Pottas if he noticed any injuries on her father's body when he came knocking on his door to tell him he thinks his daughter has been murdered.

Pottas says no.


29 Feb 11:48

Venter's lawyer, Anton van Staden asks Pottas if he is certain the blanket or towel that was on her body covered her private parts. 

Pottas says he is certain.


29 Feb 11:48
He says it is not impossible that he might have pushed her away like Pottas describes.

29 Feb 11:48
According to Nico Venter's [the boyfriend] lawyer, Venter and Anika broke up a few days before her death over something that upset him.

29 Feb 11:47

Pottas continues his testimony...

"Johan and Chris Steyn were with me the entire time [when Anika's body was found]," Pottas restarts.

"The only time Johan was not with me was when he placed a little blanket or towel over her private parts."


29 Feb 11:46

Before proceedings begin, the judge rebukes a Pretoria-based journalist head for recording proceedings.

She was told to leave the courthouse to ensure the they get deleted.


29 Feb 11:45
Wim Pretorius says proceedings are about to pick up again.

A neighbour to Johan Smit, Anika's father, is currently giving testimony about the day Anika's body was found.

29 Feb 11:16

At that, the court adjourns for tea, News24's Wim Pretorius reports.

Stay tuned for more details from the inquest into Anika Smit's gruesome murder when court restarts.

The break should be around 20 minutes long.


29 Feb 11:12

Referring back to Anika's changed hair and sombre demeanour during one particular phase, Pottas says:

"The first time she had black hair she wore black pants, but I saw her mostly with the black hair and normal clothing, not necessarily only black clothes.

"I know she had a lot of guy friends and girl friends that were very unhappy with the news of her death."


29 Feb 11:10
Pottas says the times Anika and her friends used his swimming pool she only drank cold drinks and never any alcohol that he was aware of.

29 Feb 11:10
Pottas says someone had to change the position of her legs after he left the house.

29 Feb 11:10

Pottas: "Forensics came quite late."

"When I entered the house, the blood was still wet and busy sinking into the carpet.

"In the bedroom the blood from her head was also still wet.


29 Feb 11:09

Pottas says he is 100% sure that her legs are in a changed position in the crime scene photos from how it looked when he saw it.

Her upper body was in the same position as in the photos though.

He says it was like the Oscar case where anybody could have entered and changed the position of her legs.


29 Feb 11:08

Pottas continues his testimony about the graphic photographs show in court.


29 Feb 11:00
News24's Wim Pretorius says journalists are not allowed to take pictures at court, due to the sensitive and graphic nature of the case.

29 Feb 11:00

Pottas is asked about Venter [the boyfriend] being at Anika's home the night before she was murdered.

He says he is not aware of that and is certain the alleged fight he remembers wasn't on that evening.


29 Feb 10:57

Referring to the alleged fight between Anika and her boyfriend:

"I assumed they were in an argument because of how he pushed her away.

"A guy doesn't just push his girlfriend away when she wants to kiss him. I wouldn't do that so I don't comprehend it."


29 Feb 10:57

Pottas: "The day of the incident I was alone at the house, my wife wasn't there.

"I was on the scene until about 21:00, maybe later. I saw Venter [Anika's boyfriend] on the scene and he was quiet and seemed calm from what I saw. He didn't try to get attention."


29 Feb 10:56

"She then took a written affidavit in my home and left."

"I heard in June again from the police when major Mike van Aardt told me he has taken over the case."


29 Feb 10:56
Pottas: "The investigating officer never took my details at the scene or I can't even remember if I talked with her at the scene. She was there, but only the next day she pitched at our house."

29 Feb 10:55

After Anika's death her father had a very tough time, Pottas continues.

"The only time I heard him after the murder was when he played sad music over weekends.

"I told my wife that he is a very heart broken man."


29 Feb 10:55

Pottas: "Johan only told me that he thinks his child has been murdered [when Johan came to his house].

"All I wanted to say is I'm a private person and I  respect my neighbour's privacy also so I never heard any fights."


29 Feb 10:54

Pottas: "The fight Anika and her boyfriend was after she had coloured her hair back to blonde.

"So I think it was about three months before her death. It happened outside on the pavement.

"I assumed it was a fight because of their attitudes. It might have been playful, but I saw him pushing her away one or two times.

"It was clear she wasn't amused thereby."


29 Feb 10:52

Pottas: "Johan told me that when he saw the gate was open and the dogs were nowhere in sight he knew something was off.

"He said she would never leave the security gate open."

Johan was very active at his house; always working on the garage doors and doing other handyman type of work, he adds.


29 Feb 10:52
Pottas says Steyn, the other neighbour, was the third person that saw the scene.

29 Feb 10:51

"I don't know Damian Treeby," Pottas replied.

"I asked Anika's father if he called police. He said that there was no answer."


29 Feb 10:50
He is asked if he knows Damian Treeby, the young man who became friends with a group of high school children that were interested in the occult - one of whom was into Satanism.

29 Feb 10:47

He says there was one time he saw her and her boyfriend fighting and Anika tried to kiss him but he pushed her away.

"That is all I saw."


29 Feb 10:47

"The light was on in the room, but the curtains were closed if I remember correctly."

State asks if Pottas was aware of any fight between Anika and her father the day before her death.

He says no.


29 Feb 10:46

Pottas says he has no idea what happened ti the first one, just that he is certain he gave it to a police officer.

He says he is happy with the affidavit apart from the statement on satanism not being in it.

"It is the only difference between that one and the first one."


29 Feb 10:45
The State says they only have the second affidavit and they don't have the first one.

29 Feb 10:45
Pottas is handed an affidavit he gave in June of that year. He also gave an affidavit the day afterwards.

29 Feb 10:45
Pottas: "We saw each other this past weekend, but we don't talk about the case. In the beginning he said he was asked not to talk about it with other people and I respect that."

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