'Greedy for inheritance'

2011-10-25 00:00

GRAPHIC pictures of the murdered Lotter parents and threatening SMSes that climaxed with a letter left at the couple’s doorway on the morning of their murders were presented in the high court in Durban yesterday.

State prosecutor Rea Mima submitted thart inheritance was the motive behind the brutal killing of the Westville couple at the hands of their children, Nicolette and Hardus, and Nicolette’s boyfriend at the time, Matthew Naidoo.

Sitting alongside each other, the three accused never once made eye contact through the entire proceeding, but all appeared relaxed, even smiling at times, as witnesses were called to give testimony.

All three pleaded not guilty.

A witness, Warrant Officer Justice Jabulani Duma, said that days before he attended the murder scene Nicolette and Hardus had reported separate cases of robbery and they claimed they had been accosted by two unknown men on different occasions. They were both robbed and told that their parents would be killed in a few days.

Duma said that the father, Johannes, had opened a case of intimidation with him at Westville police station after he had received a series of threatening SMSes on his phone.

The first one, on June 10, said, “You Lotters make me sick, your days are numbered. We will kill you from a month today. If I was you I would start praying. Amen. This is for all the people you wronged.”

Another SMS was received the next day: “I said you people make me sick. You are going to pay for what you did to me … we mean business. Amen.”

“I was asked by Mrs Lotter to interview her children and Matthew to see if there were any leaks in the family,” he told the court.

A third SMS stated: “Hello Lotters, this the last of the three SMS I will be sending. I hope that dear Hardus is fine. He is such a little boy … but a son of yours would be a moffie. By the way, how is Christelle doing [the Lotter’s other daughter]… she is the lucky one. Well don’t worry about Nicolette or others. They were just messages of warning … as God says ‘an eye for and eye’.

A letter found outside the Lotter’s house on the evening of the murder, apparently by Nicolette, read, “I have done what I said I was going to do; there are three suspects — but who was it? when you find out let me know; to anyone investigating, you have three suspects to choose from Nikki or Nicolette or whatever it is; Hardus and of course the boyfriend Matthew?”

There was a reference to a biblical verse at the end of the letter.

Giving grisly details of the state of the bodies at the scene, Duma said that he had grown close to the family over time.

Johannes was found naked with a telephone cable around his neck and bloodstains on the wall; while his wife was found in the kitchen, stabbed in the neck.

A black-handled knife lay next to her and a cellphone charger was around her left shoulder.

When the state called another witness, a manager at a nearby Clicks store, he said that on the same day, a Mr M.Naidoo had purchased syringes similar to the ones allegedly used to attempt to inject air into the deceased’s bloodstreams in an attempt to kill them.

Nicolette claims to have dropped Matthew off at a nearby bank after watching movies with him at the Pavillion.

When she arrived at her house she found the letter near the door and her parents dead. She said she hugged their lifeless bodies.

She said Hardus was locked in a room.

Nicolette then claimed to have contacted Matthew who in turn informed the police in Westville. He accompanied the police to the scene.

Hardus claimed that he was accosted by two men in balaclavas and locked in a bedroom, He heard his parents’ cries, he said, but he was helpless.

However, bruises and cuts on his hands were consistent with trying to pulling a cord using extreme strength, Duma said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

• rowan.sewchurran@witness.co.za

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