Winnie Rust murder accused 'spent thousands on stolen bank card', court hears

2016-06-13 15:30
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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Wellington - Writer Winnie Rust was ostensibly killed in a burglary gone wrong, the Wellington Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

According to investigating officer Cornelius de Lange, Nigel Plaatjies initially told police he had not been at the author's Third Avenue, Uitsig, home on May 11. 

But after a witness insisted to have seen the teenager - whom Rust had been supporting since he was in Grade 7 - he admitted to police he had been there that day.

Rust had paid for Nigel's school fees and sport activities, De Lange said.

His mother was the domestic worker of Rust's daughter.

The athletics star regularly visited Rust's home and was known to have lunch with her before he matriculated.

"He gave a statement that he was at the scene that day after he was forced by [Johannes] to help him with a burglary," De Lange said.

Nigel was to keep Winnie occupied while Johannes stole valuables, the officer testified.

Two laptops, rings and a handbag were stolen.

The author's husband, Dr Manie Rust, 87, who was asleep on the second floor of their hime, woke up from the sound of the bell at the gate around 15:30. 

Fingerprints found

When he got up to see who was at the gate, he found his wife dead on the kitchen floor. She had injuries to her face and her hands and feet were bound.

The gas stove had also been turned on and a burning candle was next to it. However, the gas supply had been low after Rust's husband had forgotten to turn it off after cooking apples the night before.

A post mortem confirmed that Rust had been strangled. 

Nigel was arrested two days after Rust's murder.

De Lange told the court that Nigel's fingerprints were found on a table alongside where the 77-year-old's body was found.

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 at Game, Tiffany's Jewelry and Sportscene 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.

Nigel, the court heard, had 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.

Read more on:    winnie rust  |  crime

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