Police abused us - Krugersdorp murder accused

2016-06-30 18:05
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Johannesburg - Three of the people accused of the Krugersdorp triple murders claimed in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Thursday that police abused them in custody.

Le Roux Steyn, 21, and his sister Marcelle, 18, Fabian Luff, and Christiaan Kruger are accused of killing an estate agent and two insurance brokers during a three-week period in May, leading to fears that a serial killer was at large in the Krugersdorp area.

All except Luff indicated they were applying for bail. Luff had previously decided to use a private attorney. 

Victor Da Silva, from Legal Aid SA, who represented the other three, told the court the media and public should not be present during the bail application as this would lead to intimidation by local residents.

He raised fears of unfair media coverage of the case and said the details of witnesses would be published.

Magistrate not convinced

Da Silva said the accused felt threatened because there had been protests outside the court during previous appearances of Luff and Kruger. 

Magistrate Delize Smit was not convinced and denied the request to have the bail application heard in camera.

Kruger said in his affidavit, read out by Da Silva, that he had attended school until Grade 8 and was a slow learner who struggled under pressure. He lived with his mother and worked as a builder for his uncle. He only became aware of the murders after reading about them in newspapers.

Suffocation, gas masks

Kruger claimed that one police officer hit him in the face while another tied a plastic bag around his head, saying they would suffocate him "like he suffocated the victims".

Steyn, a former pupil at Hoërskool Adelaar, said in his affidavit that police placed a gas mask over his head and that he couldn't breathe.

In her affidavit, Marcelle said she was a former pupil at Hoërskool Monument in Krugersdorp. She said police threatened to rape her and tied her hands and feet to a chair.

All three indicated they would plead not guilty.

According to the investigating officer's affidavit, Kruger was linked to one of the victims via his cellphone records.

Steyn and Marcelle were allegedly positively identified on CCTV footage withdrawing money from one of the victim's bank accounts. Clothing similar to that worn by the man in the footage was allegedly found in Le Roux's possession.

Threats from community

The officer said believed the accused should not be granted bail as they appeared to be violent.

They had interfered with the investigation by deleting details from their social media accounts, and Marcelle had refused to give police the pin code to her phone, the officer said.

Krugersdorp Community Watch head Gert Jonker said in an affidavit that locals had expressed their anger about the murders and that some had threatened to kill the accused.

Judgment in the bail application would be handed down on July 13.

Victims stuffed in boot

Estate agent Hanlie Lategan, 52, was found dead next to a stream on a farm in Elandsvlei, Randfontein, on the West Rand on Tuesday, May 31. She went missing the previous day after going to meet clients.

At the time, police said she had parked her car at a Krugersdorp private hospital, which was near the house where she was supposed to meet clients.

CCTV footage showed two people approaching her.

The bodies of insurance brokers Anthony Scholefield, 64, and Kevin McAlpine, 29, were found in the boots of their cars in the same area on May 10 and 26. 

All three victims had scheduled appointments with clients.

Scholefield’s body was found in the boot of his car, covered with a black bag. He appeared to have been strangled. 

McAlpine’s body was found in a black bag in the boot of his car.

Read more on:    police  |  johannesburg  |  police brutality  |  crime

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