Pray for us, says wife of suspected Sunday rapist

2011-10-15 19:14

“The only thing I’m asking for now is for the country and the people to pray for me and my little boy.”

That was the cry yesterday from Melanie Steyn, the wife of the man who may be the Sunday rapist.

Her husband, Jaco Steyn (35), apparently made a formal statement to a magistrate in Krugersdorp two days ago concerning Wednesday’s kidnapping, rape and murder of schoolgirl Louise de Waal (16) of Roodepoort on the West Rand of Johannesburg.

It was not known until two days ago whether Louise had also been raped before her body was set alight and burned on a farm in the Magaliesberg.

Melanie Steyn, who is on the staff of the University of Johannesburg, said: “It’s a shock. It is a very tragic story for me.”

The public image of the happily married Steyn couple and their six-year-old son is in sharp contrast with the allegations that came to light in the past week.

Reverend Roedolf Basson of the Filelfia congregation of the Seventh Day Adventists in Centurion said he knows the couple very well and “would never have believed (the allegations)”.

Basson said the Steyns are not officially part of his congregation, but are involved in a “supporting role”.

“As a church, we can of course not approve of the events. They are totally evil. If I meet him, I will probably want to strangle him myself.”

Someone else who was astounded by the news is the Steyns neighbour at the time that the Sunday rapist’s reign of terror started picking up momentum.

Theuns van Rooyen lived literally three metres from the Steyns in a townhouse complex in Krugersdorp. The Steyns have since moved.

According to Van Rooyen, the couple was very religious.

“We had quite a few deep discussions about our faith,” Van Rooyen recalls.

The Steyns received prayer groups from the church in their home, and there never was any loud music or noise.

“They had braais without a drop of alcohol. He spoke only pure Afrikaans, and I almost want to say, was a pillar of the community.”

On the day when everything collapsed for Jaco Steyn, the investigating officer had to prevent him from taking his own life.

Warrant Officer Peet du Toit of the Krugersdorp Child Protection Unit said Steyn phoned him on Thursday at about 5am from the beach in Margate.

Du Toit’s greatest concern was that Steyn would commit suicide without any of the puzzling questions around the Sunday rapist’s activities and Louise’s murder ever being answered.

“I had to offer support to him for a whole hour and negotiate with him so that he could go and hand himself over to the nearest police station.”

Only then did Steyn’s other skeletons tumble out of the closet.

In 2007 he was found guilty of sexually molesting minors at a bus stop in Roodepoort.

Du Toit says the police were unaware of this violation.

Steyn will appear in the court in Krugersdorp tomorrow.

There is a strong possibility he will be connected with the kidnapping and rape of about 10 other girls in the West Rand, Pretoria and North-West.

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