Plea for leniency by the youngest of the 'Krugersdorp Killers' fall on deaf ears

2019-05-24 17:28
Multiple murder accused, Marcel Steyn

Multiple murder accused, Marcel Steyn (Ntwaagae Seleka)

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A plea for leniency from the youngest of the accused of the remaining three "Krugersdorp Killers" has fallen on deaf ears.

Judge Jacob Francis challenged a version launched by Marcel Steyn, 21, that she was young, naïve and oblivious to the ramifications, when she participated in the brutal killing of 11 people in Krugersdorp, between 2012 and 2016.

Marcel's lawyer, Sharon Johnson told the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, that her client was threatened with murder, turned into a slave and was not able to inform nor alert anyone about the killings, in which her mother and brother participated.

"When the murders began, she was afraid to tell anyone including Cecilia's husband who is a policeman. She felt she was surrounded and had nowhere else to go. She could not tell psychologists at her school, fearing her mother who was a teacher would know and kill her," said Johnson.

Marcel was only 14 when she allegedly started participating in the muderous spree which lasted for four years.

"She can't come to court and deceive the court. She wanted to tell the truth. If I had advised her what to do in court, I would have withdrawn from the matter. I wouldn't have objected if my colleagues had brought witnesses to testify against her.

"Her brother Le Roux Steyn confirmed her version about (the) death threats against her. She had to flee from home and later returned because she had nowhere to run. Le Roux also testified that Marcel walked throughout the night and came back," said Johnson.

Marcel, Cecilia Steyn (no relation), 38 and Zack Valentine, 35, have all pleaded not guilty to a string of charges including 11 counts of murder, racketeering, fraud and participating in an enterprise.

Serving 11 life terms and 115 years

Marcel's mother Marinda Steyn is currently serving 11 life terms and 115 years in jail. Le Roux Steyn who was also a part of the group, but entered into a plea bargain with the State last May.

He was found guilty of seven murders and sentenced to 35 years for each of them.

Ten years of his sentence was suspended on condition that he testified at the trial.

Another member of the group, John Barnard, is serving 20 years after he was sentenced in 2016.

READ: 'Greed, hatred and desire for money behind murder spree - court hears

Johnson told the court that Marcel was turned into a slave and ordered to look after Cecilia's children. She was only allowed to go out when she was going to school or when some members of the group went on a killing spree.

Marcel also believed that Cecilia had Satanic powers over her and would quickly know if she had told anyone about the killings.

Contacted police

Judge Francis said he didn't believe that Marcel didn't have opportunities to inform anyone.

"She could have contacted the police and the school. She was a bright learner at school. She had the possibility to speak to someone. She could have said she was forced to take part in the murders. She knew what she was doing.

"She was intelligent and she obtained seven distinctions in matric. You want the court not to find her guilty because a 'gun' was placed to her head?" asked Judge Francis.

He wanted to know why her client had not contacted the police anonymously.

"The impression you give me is that she was trapped in Cecilia's flat and had no one to talk to about this?" asked Francis.

Johnson replied that Marcel was forbidden to go to church and have friends. Her life was restricted in many ways.

Judgment is expected to be delivered on June 3.

Read more on:    crime  |  krugersdorp killers
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