Court hears grim details of Griekwastad murders

2012-08-24 12:56

Gruesome details about the murder of a Griekwastad farmer and his family emerged during a bail application of a 16-year-old boy arrested for the crime.

Police investigator Dirk de Waal testified as a state witness in opposing bail today.

De Waal said farmer Deon Steenkamp was found with three gunshot wounds, one in the right shoulder, one behind the ear, and another in the chest.

His wife Christelle was shot in the shoulder, neck, and back.

Their daughter Marthella was shot twice in the body and twice in the head.

De Waal told the court that ballistics experts concluded that a .357 Magnum was first used in the murders. The final shots came from a .22 rifle.

The autopsy determined that the father and daughter had blunt injuries to their heads.

“She was beaten severely with an object at the back of her head,” De Waal said.

Despite media rumours that no care was taken with the murder scene, experts handled it professionally, De Waal testified.

He said the crime scene was first video recorded.

Police who entered the area were dressed in “scene-packs”, special clothing used to prevent contamination of evidence.

De Waal said police investigated the murder holistically and excluded other potential scenarios, including a farm attack, revenge, or a murder-suicide.

The boy showed no emotion when he was arrested in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

“He was as he is today,” De Waal said, referring to his calm demeanour in the dock.

The boy sat with his elbows on his knees, listening attentively.

While driving back to Kimberley after the boy’s arrest, they heard news of the arrest on a radio news bulletin.

In the rear-view mirror De Waal could see him smiling.

De Waal testified the boy was linked to the crime with DNA found at the murder scene, including a T-shirt that belonged to him.

He said he had absolute confidence in his evidence and in the expert opinions he had received.

It would be in the interests of justice for the boy to be kept in custody.

“These were gruesome, gruesome murders.”

The bail hearing would resume on Friday afternoon with the cross-examination of the state’s witness.

Deon Steenkamp (44), Christelle (43), and Marthella (14), were shot dead on their farm Naauwhoek on April 6.

At the time, police said a teenage boy was busy in an outside storeroom when he heard shots fired at 6.30pm that day.

He discovered the bodies in the living room and drove to the police station in town to report the killings and hand over two firearms which he said he found at the scene.

The state is attempting to prove three murder charges against the boy.

He cannot be named because he is a minor.

His defence had asked for a postponement to Monday to study the state’s evidence, saying if he was forced to continue his client would be severely prejudiced.

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