Plea agreement a possibility in Winnie Rust murder trial

2017-05-12 14:15
Nigel Plaatjies and Johannes Plaatjies, suspects in the Winnie Rust murder case. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Nigel Plaatjies and Johannes Plaatjies, suspects in the Winnie Rust murder case. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The possibility of a plea and sentence agreement with two men accused of murdering Afrikaans author Winnie Rust was heard in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Nigel Plaatjies and his uncle Johannes Plaatjies stood expressionless in the dock during a pre-trial conference.

Judge Robert Henney mentioned an agreement may be on the cards. He did not confirm for which of the accused this may be a possibility.

Advocate Burger Brand, for Johannes, said it "could be". Bruce Morrison, for Nigel, was not in attendance and Brand stood in for him.

The matter was postponed to June 2 to allow Morrison to consult his client.

Rust was killed in her Uitsig, Wellington, home on May 11 last year. Her husband, Dr Manie Rust, 87, found her body on the kitchen floor when he was awoken by the bell at the gate ringing at 15:30 that day.

She had injuries to her face. She had been strangled and her hands and feet were bound.

His mother worked for Rust's daughter, and the author had been paying for his sports activities and school fees since he had been in Grade 7.

The athletics star regularly visited her home.

Second bail application

He applied for bail twice, but both were denied.

In November, Wellington Magistrate Alvin Saptoe dismissed his second application, saying his testimony had left him in a worse position than before.

Everything indicated the teenager was involved, and he did not hesitate to shift blame, the magistrate said.

In his most recent ruling, Saptoe said he found Nigel's version of being forced into the robbery doubtful.

According to Nigel’s initial statement to police, he was forced to take part in the robbery at Rust's home as his uncle owed a drug lord money.

Neither gave oral evidence in their first bail attempt. In his second attempt, Nigel told the court he walked in on the robbery. He said he had an appointment to see Rust to discuss her paying for him to get his driver's licence.

He said four armed men, including his uncle, were in the house busy stealing. He was allegedly forced to take part.

Laptops, a handbag, bank cards, a cellphone, and rings from Rust’s hand were stolen.

Nigel had no prior convictions. His uncle, however, had a string of crimes to his name, including a conviction for housebreaking, eight for theft, two for assault, and two for drunk driving.

Read more on:    winnie rust  |  cape town  |  crime

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