Fred van der Vyver describes last hours with Lotz

2010-11-24 14:13

Former murder accused Fred van der Vyver today relived his last hours with his girlfriend Inge Lotz, before she was found bludgeoned to death in her Stellenbosch flat.

Van der Vyver was testifying in his R46 million malicious prosecution suit against the minister of police.

His legal team has already led evidence from shoeprint and fingerprint experts and a forensic pathologist, to show that “wilfully false” claims were made by police investigators.

Van der Vyver’s testimony appears to be aimed at demonstrating that his alibi – that he was at work at the Old Mutual head office in Cape Town at the time of the killing – was so strong that he should have been excluded as a suspect.

Dressed in a dark suit and a striped tie, Van der Vyver appeared calm and composed as he stood in the witness box today, several times anticipating questions that his senior counsel Henri Viljoen was going to ask him.

At one point Viljoen, asking him to describe what he was doing at Old Mutual that day, said: “I will interrupt you if I think you have left anything out, which you don’t normally do.”

Van der Vyver repeated the evidence he gave in his 2007 criminal trial, that he and Lotz, a Masters student at the University of Stellenbosch, had started going out seriously in November 2004.

On the night of March 15, 2005 he slept over at her flat, which he often did ahead of a class at the university on Wednesday mornings.

While at the flat he phoned one of his two older brothers, with whom his relationship at the time had been strained, and Lotz asked him afterwards what the matter was.

Though he initially told her nothing was wrong, she persisted, and he told her it had to do with his brothers.

Next morning she questioned him again, this time asking if he was sure about their relationship.

Van der Vyver told the court he assured her it was about “something else”, and that he loved her. She began crying, and he in turn asked what was worrying her.

She said she loved him. He kissed her goodbye and left, but immediately went back into the flat to ask her to send him an email so they could talk about it at a later stage. After the class, Lotz met him and handed him an envelope containing two letters, a long one and a short one.

Van der Vyver told the court he then went to work, and was at Old Mutual in Pinelands until just after 6pm.

This included the so-called afternoon “window period” in which the State claimed in the criminal trial that he would have had opportunity to drive to Stellenbosch and commit the crime.

He said that evening, after trying repeatedly to contact Lotz by phone, he drove to her parents’ house in Welgemoed to pick up a set of keys for her flat, so he could check she was all right.

While he was at the Lotz home, his flatmate Marius Botha arrived with the news that she was dead. “You were apparently very upset,” said Viiljoen.

“Yes,” said Van der Vyver.

The next morning police took him to their offices in Bishop Lavis, where he explained “in detail” where he had been the previous day.

At the start of today’s proceedings, Viljoen handed in a copy of a lie detector test administered to Van der Vyver by a private investigator hired by the Lotz family. Viljoen did not lead evidence from Van der Vyver on the test results.

However, in his 2007 trial Van der Vyver told the court that he had passed the test. The test was not used as evidence by the prosecution.

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