Man wakes friend to confess to murder

2012-05-14 22:27

Pretoria - A witness told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday that his friend woke him in the middle of the night and confessed to killing his wife.

Gordon McCallum was testifying for the State in the trial of his friend Albert van Vuuren, 42, who is accused of murdering his wife Monica at their home on a farm in Bronkhorstspruit in July 2010.

Van Vuuren has pleaded not guilty to murder, but has given no explanation of his plea.

The State alleges that Van Vuuren stabbed his wife to death during an argument.

According to an autopsy report, she died as a result of cervical spine injuries and a stab wound to the chest.

McCallum testified that he had been friends with the Van Vuurens for about two years and had lived with them from time to time.

On the day of the murder, he and Van Vuuren watched DVDs and drank brandy and coke while Mrs Van Vuuren was busy in the kitchen.


"I saw he [Van Vuuren] was getting quite aggressive and I was getting worried about it. I suggested that he should stop drinking. I wanted to give him a pill so that he could go to sleep.

"I put the pill in his hand, but he didn't want to take it. He said it made him sleepy and he still wanted to drink.

"The accused went into the kitchen and I could hear them having words, but I didn't know what it was about. It sounded like an argument.

"... I started getting quite worried, so I took one [a pill] myself and went to bed... I woke up when he came and put on my light. He woke me up and said he'd just killed Monica."

When McCallum told Van Vuuren he did not believe him, Van Vuuren said she was dead and was lying in the kitchen.

"I got dressed and ran to the kitchen. I tried to talk to her, but there was no response," McCallum told the court.

"I was very frightened and ran out of the house." The following day he contacted the owner of the farm."

Wild look

He testified that Van Vuuren "had a wild look in his eyes" that night, but otherwise looked calm.

"I can't say how sober he was, but he did not look right. He looked shocked.

"He had blood all over him... He had a wound on his hand that was bleeding," he said.

McCallum admitted in cross-examination that he had a history of psychiatric illness, and had for many years been in and out of psychiatric hospitals to treat his bipolar disorder.

This included a stint in Sterkfontein and six admissions to Weskoppies Hospital, where he was at one stage treated as an in-patient.

He was also admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Durban after assaulting a friend for making a sexual remark about his cousin.

McCallum said a report from the Durban hospital described him as "aggressive and violent" after he attacked a caregiver and took an overdose of pills, but said his other records would show that he was not aggressive.


According to McCallum, he found out only after Mrs Van Vuuren's murder that alcohol should not be used together with the medication he was taking.

He claimed he had gone to a psychiatrist for medication to calm him down while he was living with the Van Vuurens because they were about to get a divorce and he was extremely tense because of the atmosphere in the house.

The trial continues.

  • Atholl - 2012-05-15 00:00

    'he found out only after Mrs Van Vuuren's murder that alcohol should not be used together with the medication he was taking' ---- Subpoena the Doctor or Psychiatrist --- The minimum advice that the practitioner should do is to inform the patient AND close friends/spouse of the patient (Van Vuurens) that -- due to the psychiatric drugs ::} ... the patient must be observed for clinical worsening. ... no alchohol must be taken whilst on the drugs ... after six months - by law - a psychiatrist must be consulted and if a psychiatrist is the practitioner - then another psychiatrist must be consulted BEFORE any new prescription is issued. Subpoena the doctor/psychiatrist and charge him/her for culpable homicide! Alcohol causes a chemical reaction with psychiatric drugs (including Ritalin) for which the (Violent) behavior of the patient cannot be predicted.

      Barefoot - 2012-05-15 04:42

      Eh even a 10 year old can tell you not to mix medication with alcohol- so you going to take his word for it just because he said it?

      Philip - 2012-05-15 07:04

      @ Atholl, there is no way in hell that drinking on medication caused this, he is a seriously unstable man, the hospitals should be pulled in for questioning, why, after so many ïncidents"was nothing done tyo stop him? Sterkies is for the crimminally insane, that is where he should have stayed. I can BS anyone into believing what medication i want to go onto, who is to say he was actually taking his meds? Blaning the Shrink for this is not the answer, he is a 1%er, the 1% of the population that cannot succesfully integrate into normal society.

      John - 2012-05-15 07:27


      Squeegee - 2012-05-15 07:29

      Can you guys actually read? The witness is a nut job not the accused.

      deabreu - 2012-05-15 07:37

      Bipolar disorder, says it all. Evil disease that can be controlled up to a point. My sympathies goes out to all families who know someone who has that mental illness.

      Atholl - 2012-05-15 07:41

      Phillip -- the Drug Manufacturer -- is that proof enough ? The warnings for Psychiatric drugs are from : The Drug Manufacturers have issued a warning when taking the drugs ::> .. at the start of taking the drugs .. when the dosage is changed .. when the drugs are stopped .. when using with alcohol .. the drugs have a 72% failure rate the warnings include a negative reaction of Violence or Suicide. --- also -- The FDA (American Medical Standards) Have issued a 'Black Box Warning' Which is the warning just before the drug is removed from the shelf to protect the public. Your 1% er is closer to : 15% of the population have psychiatric disorders of the 15% --> 85 % are female. so ... in a 'active' population of 40mil - 6mil have dormant or active psychiatric disorders - of which 5mil are female.

  • nofikathiniskeyi.eunice - 2012-05-15 05:21

    ow yhingozi yomtu amehlo ayajika bengathi ngawe silwane mvaleleni abolele ejele

      nokuthandwa - 2012-05-15 08:12

      Squeegee, Why must she write in English? People comment in Afrikaans all the time on news24 and no one says anything. I can't understand afrikaans but it doesn't bother me that people comment in their language of choice. You should rather learn to accept other languages. Eunice, unyanisile sisi, yingozi yomntu le!

  • i2meleng - 2012-05-15 07:56

    Let him rot in jail.

  • Samkele - 2012-06-15 13:46


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