Afrikaans author murder accused to wait another week for bail hearing

2016-11-14 18:34
Nigel Plaatjies (Paarl Post, Netwerk24)

Nigel Plaatjies (Paarl Post, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Promising athlete and murder accused Nigel Plaatjies will spend another week behind bars after his bail hearing was postponed in the Wellington Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The case was adjourned to November 22 as Magistrate Alvin Saptoe was unavailable.

Proceedings were postponed on October 14, when Plaatjies testified that he had been forced to take part in the robbery which resulted in the murder of Afrikaans author Winnie Rust in her Uitsig, Wellington, home on May 11. Her husband had been asleep upstairs.

This is the 19-year-old’s second attempt at bail. In June, Saptoe ruled that the State had a strong prima facie case against him and his co-accused and uncle, Johannes Plaatjies.

While neither gave oral evidence in their first attempt, last month Nigel testified that he walked in on the robbery.

The teen said he had had an appointment with Rust to discuss the matter of her financially assisting him to get his driver's licence. She had been paying for Nigel's sports activities and school fees since he was in Grade 7 and the athletics star regularly visited her home.

Nigel's mother works for Rust's daughter. 

He said four armed men, including his uncle, were in the house and were busy stealing. He was allegedly forced to take part out of fear of his life and the safety of his family.

Laptops, a handbag, bank cards and a cellphone were taken. Rings were stolen from Rust’s hands.

He claimed he was forced to accompany the gang in a taxi, was made to withdraw money from her accounts and make purchases on her store accounts.

‘Family threatened’

He said Johannes threatened his family’s lives if he did not comply. He allegedly forced him to take R1 200, a cellphone, shoes and clothes, in a bid to buy his silence.

During bail proceedings in June, investigating officer Cornelius de Lange told the court that Nigel denied being at the author's home on the day of her murder, until a witness insisted that he was there.

The policeman said that according to Nigel’s statement, Johannes forced him to "help him with a burglary". He was to keep Rust occupied while Johannes stole valuables.

Nigel had no prior convictions. Johannes had convictions for a string of crimes, including one for housebreaking, eight for theft, two for assault, and two for drunk driving.

Rust's husband Dr Manie Rust, 87, found her body when he was awoken by the bell at the gate ringing at 15:30. She was on the kitchen floor and had injuries to her face. She had been strangled and her hands and feet were bound.

Nigel was arrested two days after Rust's murder. His fingerprints were found on a table next to the 77-year-old's body.

Johannes, 34, was arrested the following Sunday. Nigel pleaded not guilty to armed robbery and murder. Johannes is yet to plead.

If convicted, the two could face life behind bars.

Read more on:    winnie rust  |  cape town  |  crime

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