'Satanist' held for murders

Middelburg - A young man, allegedly involved in Satanism, was arrested in connection with two murders in which the victims' throats were cut.

Joppie Nolte, 23, appeared in the Marble Hall magistrate's court in Mpumalanga last week after handing himself over to police. The case was postponed until July 26, after which he will be sent to Weskoppies psychiatric hospital for observation.

Nolte is being suspected of murdering Eric Manko and Lesiba Kekana in the town's business centre late at night. The victims had cut and stab wounds to the throat and torso. The three were not acquainted.

They were murdered in the same spot and in the same manner, but one year apart. Nolte handed himself over to Marble Hall police shortly after the second murder, saying: "I've done something wrong and caused trouble."

His clothes were bloodied when he arrived at the police station. He has not yet made a statement, said a member of the investigating team at the weekend.

Attie Lamprecht, director of the police anti-occult unit, and Kobus Jonker, a private occult specialist, said the Middelburg police unit against serious violent crime had questioned Nolte.

Nolte apparently had several Satanist tattoos on his body and police seized Satanist sketches and books in the house he shared with a teacher. The books The Seduction of South Africa's Youth and The Ultimate Evil were among the confiscated books.

A hunting knife, the suspected murder weapon, was also found in the house. Police did extensive forensic tests in the house.

Martie Lewis, Nolte's mother, was quoted by the Middelburg Observer that Nolte excelled at sport in primary school. In high school he started wearing black clothes with pictures of blood flowing from a face, but she didn't pay much attention to it, ascribing it to rebelliousness.

Once she realised what was going on, it was too late.

She told the Observer her son had tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists five months ago.

She said it seemed as if he had tried to carve the words "I kill" on his wrists.

A member of the investigating team said police would probe the possibility of his involvement in other crimes and unresolved murder cases.

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