'Sunday rapist' pleads not guilty

By Drum Digital
23 July 2012

Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the "Sunday rapist", pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges against him in the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The 36-year-old appeared calm and held an Afrikaans Bible as the charges were read out. He answered "not guilty" to each of them.

Steyn has been charged with the murders of teenagers Louise de Waal and Lazanne Farmer.

He is also charged with 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.

The 11 girls he allegedly attacked between 2008 and 2011 were aged between 11 to 18.

Judge Sita Kolbe earlier ruled that no pictures of video of the accused or victims would be allowed during the trial.

"For the moment, I will not allow any filming or photography," Kolbe said.

However, after lunch Steyn withdrew his objection and Kolbe ruled that photographs and videos would be allowed as long as the identity of minor witnesses was respected.

The trial has been moved to the Palm Ridge court, which is in Alberton, from the High Court in Johannesburg while renovations are done.

Supporters of De Waal and Farmer were in court. They wore badges showing De Waal's face and white ribbons.

Steyn allegedly abducted Roodepoort schoolgirl De Waal in October last year while she was on her way to school. It was just before her 17th birthday.

De Waal's burnt body was found on a Magaliesberg farm later the same day.

Steyn handed himself over at the Margate police station in KwaZulu-Natal the next day.

Fourteen-year-old Farmer, of Elandspoort in Pretoria, was kidnapped in September 2010 by a man in a bakkie.

She was killed when she apparently jumped out of the bakkie in an attempt to escape.

Police said Steyn had confessed to being the "Sunday rapist", but not to killing De Waal. He has allegedly raped a number of young girls in Gauteng and the North West, mostly on Sundays, since 2008.

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