Strangled and drowned in a wheelie bin – Cape Town dad to go on trial for murder of his 7-year-old daughter and knifing her mom to death

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Altecia Kortje. (Facebook)
Altecia Kortje. (Facebook)
  • Ryan Smith is expected to go on trial for the murder of his former girlfriend and their daughter.
  • Altecia and Raynecia Kortje were found dead in student accommodation in Belhar, where Smith worked as a caretaker.
  • Altecia had been bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher and stabbed. Raynecia had been strangled and drowned in a wheelie bin.

This story may upset sensitive readers.

Little Raynecia Kortje was strangled and drowned in a wheelie bin by her father before he bashed in her mother’s head with a fire extinguisher and stabbed her to death for breaking up with him.

This is the State’s case against Ryan Smith, who is set to go on trial for the murder of his seven-year-old daughter and former partner.

In June last year, the murders of the mom and her daughter were among those President Cyril Ramaphosa denounced during an address to the nation, which he called a “war being waged against the women and children of our country”.

According to the State’s substantial summary of facts, Smith and Altecia Kortje had been in a long term abusive relationship. The pair had two children – Raynecia was their oldest.

Smith, a caretaker of student accommodation in Belhar, lived on the premises which would ultimately become the murder scene. Kortje lived with the children with her parents in Delft, from where Smith had fetched their offspring late in the night on 5 June last year.

Kortje had been unhappy that he had taken the siblings and had the following day gone to the Belhar police station, where she was advised to go to the local court for a protection order, according to the court papers.

READ | Public Protector finds Cape Town court did not fail murdered mom, daughter

The couple had been in contact via cellphone, and Kortje "expressed her unhappiness" and indicated she no longer wanted to be in a relationship with him.

That Monday, she had gone to court where she received application forms for a protection order. The next day, she had gone to Smith’s home to collect the children. She had arrived shortly after 16:00, according to the State, after he had requested a taxi via an e-hailing service.

Before the murder, Kortje and Raynecia had been packing their clothes.

"The accused took Raynecia with him to one of the rooms on the premises. He proceeded to throttle her and then drowned her in a wheelie bin which was filled with water," the papers read.

"Ms Kortje came searching for her daughter. When she entered the room where her daughter had been murdered, the accused beat her about the head with a fire extinguisher. He choked her and continued to beat her with the fire extinguisher. He then used a knife to stab her repeatedly."

READ | Murdered mom wanted to get restraining order before her death, say family, activists

Kortje's father filed a missing person's report the next day. This after Smith claimed that they had had an argument and that she and Raynecia had gone to the police.

It is unclear where the younger of the two children was at the time of the murder.

The bodies of the mom and her daughter were discovered that Friday when Smith gave the keys to the crime scene to a relative. He was arrested after the bodies were found.

The prosecution is seeking a life sentence, contending that the murder was planned.

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