Barbie victim hangs herself

2010-03-08 08:01

Pretoria - A victim of Cézanne Visser, 32, better known as Advocate Barbie, committed suicide in Botswana at the weekend.

The body of Jeannine du Plessis, 21, was found on Sunday morning in the Kgalagadi area, where she had hanged herself from a tree branch.

Jeannine's mother, Marié du Plessis, 41, told Beeld on Sunday evening that her daughter's death is directly related to what was done to her by Visser and her former lover, Dirk Prinsloo.

"I'm not angry, just very, very sad."

Pieter du Plessis, Jeannine's father, said: "It's Cézanne and Dirk's fault. I'm heartbroken."


Visser was recently sentenced to up to seven years in prison for sex crimes involving young women and girls from children's homes. In Jeannine's case Visser was charged with rape, but this could not be proven above reasonable doubt and she was found guilty of indecent assault.

During Visser's trial, the court heard how she fetched Jeannine from the children's home on her 15th birthday and gave her Milo, which made her feel like she'd been drugged.

When Jeannine woke up the next day, she wasn't wearing her panties. Acting Judge Chris Eksteen said during the trial: "This kind of behaviour fills the listener with disgust."

During Visser's sentencing, Eksteen said Jeannine's life "has been torn apart".

According to her mother, Jeannine's boyfriend, Johan Fourie, who works in Botswana, became concerned when he returned from work on Friday afternoon and she wasn't at home.

"Neighbours told him they saw Jeannine walking off with a piece of rope," her mother said.

15-month-old baby

She explained that Jeannine and Fourie left for Botswana, where he's doing contract work, last Saturday.

Fourie is the father of Jeannine's daughter, 15-month-old Micayla. Three weeks ago the child was placed in Jeannine's mother's care.

"Jeannine was addicted to heroin. Apparently she was trying to rehabilitate herself and was having terrible withdrawal symptoms. She was very depressed."

According to her mother, Jeannine said she would never have started using drugs if she hadn't been subjected to Visser and Prinsloo's abuse.

"She even said in court that, if it hadn't been for Cézanne's actions, she would never have started taking drugs. It's obvious that her suicide is a result of everything that happened to her."

Fourie reported her missing to the Botswana police on Friday.

When Jeannine's mother returned from church on Sunday, a police detective was waiting for her at her home in Pretoria. He told her that Jeannine's body had been found.

André Wiese, commanding officer at the Brooklyn police station, said the provincial commissioner gave the order early on Sunday morning to relay the news of Jeannine's death to her family.

"The order came directly from foreign affairs in Botswana," said Wiese.


Johann Lemmer, Visser's stepfather, said on Sunday evening that their hearts go out to Jeannine's family.

"Shame. She had so many problems."

Lucy Redivo, director of the Child Abuse Action Group, said: "We're angry. It's a huge shock."

Redivo said Visser and Prinsloo's actions may very well have played a role in the tragedy.

"She never received proper therapy. It was always just about Visser's therapy," said Redivo.

In February, Prinsloo was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Belarus on charges of theft, assault and attempted bank robbery.

Jeannine's remains will be brought to South Africa from Botswana after a post-mortem.