Griekwastad murderer described as a ‘charming manipulator’

2014-05-15 00:00

KIMBERLEY — The teenaged Griekwastad triple murderer is a charming manipulator. He even influenced several professionals into drawing up reports in his favour.

This was the argument yesterday of prosecutor Hannes Cloete at the pre-sentencing hearing of the 17-year-old.

The teen was found guilty in March on three charges of murder, one of rape and one of defeating the ends of justice. Deon Steenkamp (44), his wife Christel (43) and their daughter, Marthella (14) were shot on their farm on Good Friday 2012. Marthella was also raped.

Cloete said he would offer evidence about the minor’s personality type.

He also referred to a psychiatric evaluation done in March 2013. Three social workers and correctional service staff who had also interviewed the accused and the parties involved, all agreed that imprisonment was the most suitable sentence for the teenager.

Cloete said the accused had mentioned aspects in the reports that were held against him in court, such as his lack of tears and his knowledge about the amount of money in the family safe. He said in the reports he was a virgin and the Steenkamps had been a happy family.

Cloete said it is possible for someone to maintain a front about his so-called rehabilitation. He also said the minor had even manipulated Dr Eon Sonnekus, a criminologist for the defence. Sonnekus just smiled at Cloete’s claim.

Cloete said the accused claimed men don’t cry, but in Griekwastad men cried like babies when they learnt about the Steenkamp family’s murders.

Social worker Karen van Wyk said the accused maintained he is innocent and that he had no reason to murder and rape. He said he was raised that “men don’t cry” and that was why he did not show his emotions. He told Van Wyk he cried at night when he remembered how the murdered family’s bodies had looked.

The teenager refused to answer questions on the murders upon instruction from his legal team and his guardian, because they were worried he would incriminate himself.

The minor had assured corrections officer Catherina Klaaste that he posed no danger, even closing her office door so they were alone in the room.

Klaaste said rehabilitation would not be possible unless the crime was better understood. She was the only person who could speak to the teenager about the murders before his legal counsel silenced him. He co-operated well, but prison warders later said he acted arrogantly.

The boy said he felt bad when people looked at him as if he is a monster. He now thinks he should have acted differently on the evening of the murders.

The director of the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) in the Free State and Northern Cape, Marita Kraayenburg, said the Steenkamps would have been proud of the consistent reports of a healthy family.

Marianna Smith and Elbeth Vermaak, Deon Steenkamp’s sisters, told the court they would let the boy work on two farms if he continued his studies; and they would pay for psychiatric treatment.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

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