Griekwastad case: No fingerprint match

2013-03-14 19:18

Kimberley - No match could be found on the police's database for a fingerprint that was lifted from a drinking glass at the scene of a triple murder at a farm in Griekwastad, the Northern Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

Constable Motlalekgomo Mohitlhi was testifying in the trial of a 16-year-old youth accused of killing farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christelle, 43, and daughter Marthella, 14, on the farm Naauwhoek, on April 6 last year.

Mohitlhi said he also tested for fingerprints on a handgun holster in the main bedroom and the firearm safe, the fridge, the counter and phone in the kitchen area, and the dining room table.

Cross-examination of Mohithli was expected to start after the lunch break.

Mohitlhi testified that he did primary residue tests on the youth at the police station.

He did a red colour test on his right hand and a blue colour test on his left hand. "I sealed the test in front of him," he told the court.

Mohitlhi was also the policeman tasked with doing the first recording of the murder scene at the farm with a video camera.

The video was shown in court in two clips, the first of which was a short recording of the back door of the farmhouse.

Mohitlhi testified that the farm dogs ran to him at that point and he feared they would bite him. He continued after he was sure that the dogs would not attack.

The trial continues.

  • Paul Van Schalkwyk - 2013-03-14 20:05

    ja doesnt mean nothing, there might have been neighbours / family friends earlier that day...drinking from that glasses ! lets wait for the gun residue results / witness statement / forensic tests results...etc !!! im a murder and robbery detective - these things take time !!!

      Shirley Craig - 2013-03-15 04:58

      @Paul Van Schalkwyk, I agree that a result in this type of case will take time. But from the sounds of it, everyone has assumed the guilt of this boy from the word go. They did not take much time to grab him as the first convenient suspect, without doing much further checking into any other possible suspects, or even accomplices. The child might be guilty, but surely more checking should have been done at the time, before making an arrest? If the murderers are different people, they may be long gone by now. But, I do believe that evidence can speak long after the fact. Yet, if the boy is innocent, what trauma has he gone through as a result of his arrest, on top of the trauma of finding people murdered?

      Shervon Lerato Oliphant - 2013-10-18 23:59

      I agree with you Paul and the fact that they can't match those finger prints does not rule out the fact that the boys story does not add up @ Shirley if there was an intruder the dogs would alert the family and you surely don't know Griekwastad people coz then you'd know that if ever ther were any strangers around they would have known

  • George Pito - 2013-03-14 20:07

    How did this get so complicated. The lawyers the forensics. Maybe the old days where the convicted person was question in person not his lawyer worked better.

  • Ian Robert Reid - 2013-03-14 21:00

    So who killed this family ~ a blatant killer ~ he will pay!

  • Ushir Sahdao - 2013-03-14 21:26

    There are only 160000 fingerprints on this database. So the chances of getting a match is 0.3%. Bring on the DNA Bill. Expand the database with Home affairs and the department of transport. Make it compulsory for every person arrested, to undergo DNA testing and expand the DNA database. Hold campaigns were people voluntarily give DNA for the Database. This draft bill has been dragging since 2008. It could be 1 on the most effective means in combating crime in an already crime infested society. These politicians have no priorities, twiddling their fingers while innocent citizens die.

  • Shelle Malan - 2013-03-14 21:38

    No fingerprint on any database as possibly belongs to the 14 year old murdered girl. If there indeed was any intruder, why did the farm dogs not alert the family by barking or attack the intruder/s ?? Anyone perhaps know the time duration from shootings to arrival of 16 year old at the Police Station please???

      Shirley Craig - 2013-03-15 04:18

      @Shelle Malan, it sounds like the farm dogs did not attack the policeman either, so maybe they are not attack dogs and are used to lots of different people coming and going, for example farm workers. The policeman said the dogs ran at him, but he does not mention them barking and he does not say they were aggressive, as he carried on filming. I would also like to know what the time lapse was between the killing and the boy arriving at the police station. And also why he did not phone out instead. Was the phone line cut? And is he able to drive yet? Or was he driven there by an accomplice?

  • Shirley Craig - 2013-03-15 04:23

    A fingerprint could mean many things, but all efforts should be made to find the person involved and question him or her. The person who owns that fingerprint could be the "real" murderer, or the person could even be an accomplice of this boy. (I wondered recently when reading about the case, whether the boy hired someone to kill the family, as it was reported that he wanted to farm and not go to school. If the family was dead, then he could inherit everything--if this is true, he would not want to mention the accomplice, as that points to obvious guilt.)

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-03-15 14:34

    Just your average police screw up, nothing new.

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