No bail for suspects in Winnie Rust murder case

2016-06-23 12:44
Winnie Rust. (Supplied)

Winnie Rust. (Supplied)

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Wellington – Murder accused Nigel Plaatjies and his uncle Johannes Plaatjies have been denied bail in the Wellington Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Court goers – the majority of whom were friends and supporters of Nigel, a star athlete - gasped after Magistrate Alvin Saptoe made his ruling.

Saptoe said the State had a strong prima facie case against the accused, while the two chose not to give viva voce evidence (evidence given orally) during proceedings.

The case has been registered as a schedule 6 bail application which, according to the Criminal Procedure Act, means the onus is on the accused to prove special circumstances exist to justify their release.

Saptoe said neither had done this.

Nigel, 18, and his uncle are accused of killing much-loved Afrikaans author Winnie Rust in her Third Avenue, Uitsig home on May 11 while her husband slept upstairs.

Needed cash for 'drug loans'

Police believe she was killed in a burglary gone wrong.

During bail proceedings, investigating officer Cornelius de Lange told the court that Nigel – whom Rust had been supporting financially since he was in Grade 7 – had denied being at the author's home on the day of her murder, until a witness insisted to have seen him.

His mother was the domestic worker of Rust's daughter. Rust had paid for Nigel's school fees and sports activities and the athletics star regularly visited her at her home.

De Lange said Nigel had given a statement to police that Johannes had forced him to "help him with a burglary" and that he was to keep Rust occupied while Johannes stole valuables.

Prosecutor Mornay Julius told the court that Nigel had, in a statement to police, said his uncle had forced him to take part in the robbery because he needed cash to pay off drug loans.

Ostensibly, had Nigel not helped him, Johannes would have had his nephew killed.

Julius said the State found it unlikely that this is what had happened.

Facing life in prison

Nigel has no prior convictions, while Johannes had been convicted of a string of crimes: housebreaking, eight of theft, two for assault and two of drunk driving.

Two laptops, rings and a handbag were stolen from the author's home.

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 alongside the 77-year-old's body.

He also allegedly used her bank card at an ATM for three transactions valued at R5 000, as well as her credit card for purchases in Paarl.

Johannes, 34, was arrested the following Sunday. He had allegedly sold one of the laptops and had pawned the rings at a Wellington second-hand dealer.

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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