Cemetery killer: We did it together

2012-10-30 16:55

Bloemfontein - Convicted killer Maartens van der Merwe said on Tuesday he and his fiancée Chané van Heerden pushed each other to commit a murder.

"We would never have done it individually. We pushed each other, I know," a tearful Van Heerden told the Virginia Circuit Court.

He was testifying in mitigation of his sentence after the court found him guilty of killing Welkom resident Michael van Eck in 2011.

Cross-examined by the State, Van der Merwe acknowledged Van Eck was an unfortunate man available at an unfortunate time.

Upon taking the stand, Van der Merwe turned to Van Eck's family, sitting in the front row of the public gallery, and asked them for forgiveness. Van Eck’s mother shook her head.

Van der Merwe testified to the rituals he and Van Heerden had performed to show their "togetherness" as outsiders. Part of this was a set of rings dipped into a small bucket of their own blood.

"Why blood?" asked State prosecutor Johan de Nysschen.

Van der Merwe replied: "I do not know. It shows we are bonded to each other."

He said the rituals of cutting themselves and skinning cats had nothing to do with occult practices. He said Satanism had come up in discussions but they never took it further.

"It was something we did with a feeling of being together."

He testified he was in the same room when Van Heerden mutilated Van Eck’s face the day after the murder.

"I did not get any satisfaction from that. I cannot say why, I do not know," a soft-spoken Van der Merwe said.

He was repeatedly asked to speak up.

Didn't want to cut me

According to the Independent Online Van Eck had been decapitated, his right arm cut off, and both his legs amputated at the knees.

Some of his body parts had been buried in a shallow grave at the Welkom cemetery. Van Eck’s facial skin, with the mouth stitched closed, and his eyes and ears, were found in the couple's fridge.

Van der Merwe told the court of Van Heerden’s urge to stitch skin.

On a question how they made the move from skinning cats to killing a human, Van der Merwe said Van Heerden loved him too much to practice her stitching on him.

"She did not want to cut me," he said in tears.

Eventually he agreed it would be "okay" if they got somebody else.

He told Judge Ian van der Merwe he and Van Heerden would not have committed murder as individuals.

"I know I was wrong, I was sick. I can get better... I know what happened was wrong, I deny nothing. I do not know how we got to this [murder]."

Van der Merwe said it would never happen again.

Asked how he could guarantee this he replied: "I can't give a guarantee, I can only say never again."

Earlier in cross examination, Van der Merwe said the crucifixion of a small cat gave him no pleasure.

"What possessed you two to crucify the cat, then?" asked De Nysschen.

"I do not know," said Van der Merwe, adding that the rituals and cats had nothing to do with Van Eck’s murder.

Guilty plea

Earlier Judge van der Merwe held that Van der Merwe could differentiate between right and wrong at the time of the murder.

He did not suffer from any psychological illness at the time, the judge concluded.

His lawyer, Pieter Nel, entered a guilty plea on all charges and read out a statement.

The 25-year-old was convicted of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstance, and dismembering the victim's body.

The judgment came after the State called a final expert witness, Dr Carla Kotze of Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria, to testify.

She said Van der Merwe could understand right from wrong and there was no evidence of him being under any influence at the time of the crime.

Van der Merwe's trial was separated from that of Van Heerden, 21, in 2011.

She was convicted of Van Eck's murder, declared a dangerous criminal and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison in November last year.

The case continues.

  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-10-30 17:02

    He continues to lie. She made me do it! "I don't know why we crucified a cat". Satanic rituals...

      moriri.mosweu - 2012-10-30 18:04

      Lusifa in his making...

      lownabester - 2012-10-30 19:41

      Both two cowards, nothing to do with "Satanic rituals" just 2 stupid people taking the life of a young innocent boy.

      rbphiri - 2012-10-30 19:56

      "I know I was wrong, I was sick. I can get better... I know what happened was wrong, I deny nothing. I do not know how we got to this [murder]." Van der Merwe said it would never happen again. Ofcourse it won't happen again! because you will be in jail moron. I hope your devil has good ky jelly for you.

  • steele.oyle - 2012-10-30 17:06

    Ship him off to the east coast of alberton, and give him a dela rey 8 track along with a steve hoffmeyer cd and that should be punishment enough for this murdering fool

  • jerry.medina.756 - 2012-10-30 17:08

    Only 20 years?

      rbphiri - 2012-10-30 19:59

      Yes they gave them 20 years because our Judicial system condones criminals, why do you think we still have criminals in parliament. So basically if you kill someone for satanic beliefs it's ok, if you kill in self defence; hell than you the biggest, most dangerous criminal this planet has seen.

  • zeepolar - 2012-10-30 17:09

    where are the normal racist commentators?????

      quantron - 2012-10-30 17:27

      You are the first.

      syphor.zit - 2012-10-30 17:44

      They are probably commenting where they fill better

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-10-30 18:00

      What have you people been smoking? It has definitely lowered your IQ significantly...

      benji.engelbrecht - 2012-10-30 18:02

      seeing as you are the first to mention race i would say you have found what you were looking for

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-30 18:43

      @Bipolar. We are here, and going through the comments NOT a single WHITE condones these barbaric individuals.

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-30 18:45

      A Nigerian born semi South African based and semi Nigerian based corporate executive. You know omonaija; I quite liked your open-mindedness on most of the previous news articles. "No she doesn't in fact she tickles my fancy." Wow if this is the way you go courting, then I don't know what lame is.

      godesha - 2012-10-31 05:52

      Z, you still at it then? Little troll.

  • brad.ken.18 - 2012-10-30 17:20

    What a sick fck!!!!! I cant even begin to comment! HANG HIM!!!!! Why should the tax payer pay for boarding and lodging for this loewer, than low life scum!

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-10-30 17:27

    im suprised they were sent 4 pych evaluation as usual. they must foreigners.!

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-30 17:30

    They should only have done one thing together, and we all know what that is.

      joneethling - 2012-10-30 19:33

      The thought of brainless scum like this procreating is disturbing. Even now this poser thinks it is about him. They should be taken outside and stoned to death as an example.

  • Onke Mdingi - 2012-10-30 17:41


  • steve.matsane - 2012-10-30 17:43

    '...Van der Merwe said it\r\nwould never happen again.\r\nAsked how he could\r\nguarantee this he replied:\r\n\I can't give a guarantee, I\r\ncan only say never again.\...'. Yes it wil never happen again cos u gonna spend the rest of ur bl**dy life behind bars.

  • khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-10-30 17:47

    People are so economical with condemnations here, its unlike you people, whats the matter? I mean something like primates, barbaric, this is africa, uneducated, etc. The usual, you know what i mean moes? Its amazingly lacking here. Come on now i know u can do much better than this.

      donny.doncaster - 2012-10-30 17:55

      They deserve the death penalty. No doubt. Barbaric.

      lario.borges - 2012-10-30 18:18

      Yes... It is very unfortunate that having a high % of black ppl in the country that a high % of crime is by black ppl.... A pity that people label blacks as rapists, barbarians and primates.... All races suffer from criminality, that is the hard fact... Crime does not distinguish between races...

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-10-30 18:23

      It just shows that there is truth in the statement that where the law is concerned in SA whites are treated more leniently than blacks. Remember the Lotter case? The brother and sister who killed their sister received 12 years. Matthew Naidoo, a coaccused who wasn't directly involved in the murders, received TWO life sentences! Now here we have van Heerden getting a minimum of 20 years for brutally killing and dismembering a young man. This was 1st degree murder! It was brutal and remorseless. The person got 20 years for that! The whole thing is a bad joke. Le'ts wait and see the sentence passed down on van der Merwe. I am betting on 15 years or less.

      lario.borges - 2012-10-30 18:33

      @manu And what about the ANC officials getting away with all their crimes? I dont believe you can fairly make that comment, you only hear the sentences which are reported and there is way more than that happening in this country.... every case is different, and there are many different judges

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-10-30 18:35

      Batshele Gatsheni. I've been saying this for ages. Terrible double standards.

      lario.borges - 2012-10-30 18:41

      And the people who were let of jail? And the black man who raped a grandmother who was let out of jail on presidential pardon? Dont bring race in where it is not needed... We need to work together if we want to get somewhere! The haves, both BLACK and WHITE, need to give to the have-nots.

      lario.borges - 2012-10-30 18:42

      You unfortunately only see what you want to see... And we can look for problems anywhere...

      joneethling - 2012-10-30 19:36

      What about the rugby player who was fined for beating a cop to death?

      godesha - 2012-10-31 05:57

      Oh for goodness sake Khethu, must everything be turned into a racial issue? Because of people like you, this country will never move forward.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-10-30 17:52

    Hang the bastard. Do not let him emotionally blackmail anyone

  • philas.ntuli - 2012-10-30 18:08

    Sick bastards!!! They don't deserve to live.Bring back th death penalty or legalize mob justice.

  • philas.ntuli - 2012-10-30 18:17

    so his fiancee \the sick bit***ch\ will spend 20 years inside? Too lenient...

  • anele.mveku - 2012-10-30 18:21

    This guy is seeking sympathy nd forgiveness so he can sleep better @nyt. He doesn't deserve t..he nd his gf deserve two things.. To rot in jail nd burn in hell after.

  • majwarha.balakisi - 2012-10-30 18:25

    If he was an African, he would have known what to do with his woman and that is not killing anyone.

      Morné Els - 2012-10-30 18:51

      Haha,yes,because africans know how to deal with a woman. Moron...

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-10-30 18:28

    This story makes me sick to my stomach!!! How can any human being do things like this to another human being and to an animal its like a flippin horror story!!!! I can't even imagine what the family of the victim must be going through to have to hear over and over how their son died!!!

  • melikaya.grootboom - 2012-10-30 18:49

    People plz stop making this a racial thing. I think SA should learn from america how to deal with a crime(I'm used on watching american crimes documentaries)

  • melikaya.grootboom - 2012-10-30 18:50

    People plz stop making this a racial thing. I think SA should learn from america how to deal with a crime(I'm used on watching american crimes documentaries)

  • thelma.flynn.96 - 2012-10-30 19:04

    They shopuld hang from the highest tree in public. They are the scum of the earth

  • jam.iela.50 - 2012-10-30 19:30

    He can't guarantee that he won't do it again, he doesn't sound remorseful in the least. The state should put him out of his misery

  • brad.ken.18 - 2012-10-30 20:23

    I HOPE the family of this scum reads News24! Your son should be given to the public! Lower your heads in SHAME! I hope there is NO Vaseline allowed! :-)

  • nico.dejongh.90 - 2012-10-30 21:02

    'Mal-pitte' before shock treatments will wash their brains nice and clean.

  • gail.hayesbean - 2012-10-31 12:19

    I don't view these two as actually human! They are just evil personified flesh and a fitting sentence would be to sew their orifices up instead of leaving them available for Papa - let her sew him up and vice versa. Leave their mouths and intake systems open so they can eat and let them then choose in jail whether they wish to be opened up and dealt with by Papa or allowed to burst or starve or dehydrate to death. They are mindless killers undeserving of any mercy as are all killers who choose to mutilate animals or fellow humans regardless of race. We have no death penalty because taking a life regardless of how merciful the method turns another human being into a killer for gain. There is a place for sentencing people to life to run concurrently and consecutively but in cases such as these two who had choices because they were born white a 20 year sentence is laughable. The same measure should be used against all murderers who choose to mutilate and torture anybody who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, be they elderly whites, blacks farmers or shopkeepers. Do we want revenge though or justice? Justice is being made to face your responsibility before your fellow man and learn from the lesson so that you hopefully change your ways. Revenge is taking an eye for an eye or a life for a life and makes whole world blind. Certain criteria should not be used to impose lighter sentences and here I refer to alcohol and drug induced crimes. I am white and agree with "racist" ?s.

  • imoukangwe - 2012-11-01 04:25

    My observation : black people commit murder with a purpose of acquiring goods or money ! With white people mostly is because of their personality and occult ritual practice ! Which I think explains why most serial killers are whites and why black people commit crimes more often , like bugglers , robberies , ATM bombing ! Another recent example of white person is a abduction of roosdepoort school girl that was raped burned to death . Is ghetto gangster ( wanna show off with BMWs and lavishness in the clubs )V/S antisocial psychopath ( pure personality ) ~ I thinks it's interesting observation and please note I'm not a racist

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