Ritual witness: I am not the beast

Johannesburg - A man, who admitted to setting two teenage girls alight in an apparent satanic ritual, has no aspirations of bringing an end to the world, a Johannesburg court heard on Tuesday.

"The beast would bring an end to the world.... I am not the beast, I thought I was one of the horns," Lester Moody told the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.

He was testifying against four people accused of setting alight Kirsty Theologo and her 14-year-old friend in an alleged satanic ritual on 21 October 2011.

Moody and Jeremy King pleaded guilty to the crime and were sentenced to 17 years in jail, five of them suspended, under a plea bargain with the State.

He is testifying against Lindon Wagner, Robin Harwood, Harvey Isha, and Courtney Daniels.

Lydia van Niekerk, for Wagner, asked Moody if he remembered joking about controlling human beings by placing SIM card-sized chips in them.

She said Wagner would tell the court Moody often spoke about Satanism and of selling one's soul, and said he was the beast spoken of in the Bible's Book of Revelations, chapter 17.

Moody said that apart from listening to underground rap music and watching horror movies, he did not know anything about the occult.

He testified that the ritual was initially based on a Bible verse which referred to a "great prostitute".

He had found the verse confusing, but on hearing Theologo recite parts of it, had thought she was the prostitute to be sacrificed.

He had thought she might, unknowingly, had been inspired to be the prostitute.

Later, a game confirmed she was the prostitute.

The Bible verse

Moody said killing Theologo became a serious matter to him when she told him and the accused, that they should strip her naked, eat her flesh, and drink her blood.

The Bible verse reads: "The beast and the 10 horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled."

Moody said he was one of the 10 horns, but did not think God or the spirits had found him special by revealing the verse to him.

He told the court Wagner also took the plan of killing Theologo seriously.

When Van Niekerk asked him how he knew this, he said Wagner's actions had proved he believed in performing the ritual.

By assaulting the girls and setting them on fire, he had proved he believed in the ritual.

"But it was like something was controlling him," he said.

Van Niekerk asked him to elaborate.

Being ‘controlled’

Moody said he could not explain Wagner's condition exactly, but that it was as if a spirit was controlling him.

Van Niekerk said Wagner would agree that he was not in control of his actions.

He admitted throttling the girls and setting them alight, but contended he was not in control of his will at the time.

Theologo, 18, and her friend were tied up, doused with petrol, and set alight on a hill behind the Linmeyer swimming pool in southern Johannesburg.

Theologo later died in hospital.

Her friend survived.

Cross-examination continues.

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