‘I should have protected her’ – nurse asks murder victim’s son for forgiveness

2018-09-13 18:01
Marie Verwey (Supplied, Netwerk24)

Marie Verwey (Supplied, Netwerk24)

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"I should have protected her. Please forgive me," murder accused and home care nurse Nicolize Geldenhuys pleaded in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

She was speaking to the son of slain guesthouse owner Marie Verwey whose murder she is accused of.

The son, Francois Verwey, wiped tears of his own but refused to acknowledge her apology.

Geldenhuys is accused of armed robbery as well as the murder of the woman she affectionately called "Ma". She has admitted to planning a heist but testified that killing Verwey was never part of the plan.

Verwey was killed at the Villa Merwe guesthouse in February. Her safe had been ransacked.

READ: Murder-accused nurse hugged 80-year-old just moments before she was killed, court hears

Geldenhuys and her now ex-boyfriend Romeo Hendricks pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Co-accused Enrico "Darkie" Malherbe pleaded guilty to both charges and Andre "Zibby" Coetzee only admitted to the robbery. Both their pleas were rejected.

Geldenhuys worked for the Verwey family since 2015, caring for the guesthouse owner's husband, who had terminal cancer. After his death, her services were no longer needed, until the family employed her to take care of Verwey a week before the murder.

She confessed to planning the robbery after seeing Francois storing the octogenarian's jewellery, worth R750 000, in their safe.

Her co-accused are all alleged members of the 26s gang.

Geldenhuys broke down during her evidence-in-chief and asked to address Francois in the public gallery.

"I am sorry for my role in this. Because of my choices and decisions, people got hurt who were good to me," she said.

"I know you really loved her. I am sorry for what happened. I should have protected her. Please forgive me."

Francois wiped away tears but did not respond.

According to Geldenhuys, the four would drive from Paarl to Verwey's Paraadyskloof home, where she would deliver a punnet of grapes to the domestic worker, Emmie, and unlock the back door before leaving.

Hendricks would remain in the car. Malherbe and Coetzee would jump over the outside gate and hide in the backyard before entering the house to hold up Verwey and Emmie, take the loot and leave.

They would drive to a high-ranking member of the 26s in Hanover Park, who had also been involved in the planning along with his wife, she maintained.

But Geldenhuys said her co-accused had deviated from the plan. She was inside the house, speaking to Verwey while Emmie had gone to the shop.

She claimed she was ready to leave when Malherbe rang the bell and asked for water, whereafter he entered the house and killed Verwey, stabbing her more than 50 times.

After they fled, they went to the alleged gang leader's house where they decided to sell the rings at a Cape Town pawn shop.

The couple was arrested two days later.

Hendricks and Geldenhuys have since ended their relationship. Hendricks denies any involvement in the robbery and murder, his attorney Saleem Halday said.

According to Hendricks, who is also the father of Geldenhuys' infant, the four had been on their way to Hanover Park to collect drugs from the alleged gang leader.

Halday said his client maintained that Geldenhuys had asked him to take a detour to her workplace and that the three had been in the house while he was in the car.

Geldenhuys insisted that his story was a lie and that he had been one of the planners of the heist.

He also claimed that Geldenhuys was in control of the plan and that she had masterminded it.

She, however, claimed that Hendricks had smuggled a cellphone to her during one of their appearances in the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court and that he had instructed her to write down the "cover story" about going to Hanover Park for drugs for their co-accused.

On Wednesday, she testified that she had wanted to tell "the truth".

Malherbe's advocate Scanlyn Collins said his client also claimed she had "planned the scenario" and had also "stabbed her numerous times, and with aggression".

"It’s not true," Geldenhuys responded.

He also alleged that she had smoked tik with Malherbe and Coetzee, and that she had gone to a Paarl hospital to collect blue medical gloves to be worn during the robbery.

She dismissed the claims, shaking her head.

The case continues on Monday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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