Winnie Rust murder accused again denied bail

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)

Cape Town - Promising athlete Nigel Plaatjies, accused of playing a role in the murder of Afrikaans author Winnie Rust in May, was on Tuesday again denied bail in the Wellington Magistrate's Court.

Magistrate Alvin Saptoe for a second time this year dismissed his application, saying his testimony had now left him in a worse position than before.

"Everything indicated you were involved. You don't hesitate to shift blame," he said.

"The State's case can't be seen as weak. After your testimony, the State now has a more convincing case."

In his ruling, he said he found Plaatjies' version of being forced into the robbery doubtful.

Plaatjies is accused of armed robbery and murder, charges to which he has pleaded not guilty, relating to the killing of Rust, in her Uitsig, Wellington, home on May 11.

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.

On Tuesday, Saptoe ruled that Plaatjies was "an integral part of the plan".

He said Plaatjies' testimony and statements to police were not consistent.

Saptoe cited Plaatjies' initial statement given to police, saying he had assisted his uncle and co-accused Johannes Plaatjies with a burglary as he apparently owed a drug lord money.

Strong case

Plaatjies testified that he had been forced to take part in the robbery at Rust's home.

In June, Saptoe ruled that the State had a strong prima facie case against Plaatjies and his uncle.

While neither gave oral evidence in their first bail attempt, last month Plaatjies testified that he had walked in on the robbery.

The teen said he had had an appointment with Rust to discuss the matter of her financially assisting him to get his driver's licence.

She had been paying for his sports activities and school fees since he had been in Grade 7 and the athletics star regularly visited her home.

Plaatjies' mother works for Rust's daughter.

He said four armed men, including his uncle, were in the house and were busy stealing.

He was allegedly forced to take part.

Laptops, a handbag, bank cards and a cellphone were taken.

Rings were stolen from Rust’s hands.

Accused claims he was forced into it

Plaatjies claimed he was forced to accompany the gang in a taxi, was made to withdraw money from Rust's accounts and make purchases on her store accounts.

He said his uncle threatened his family’s lives if he did not comply.

During bail proceedings in June, investigating officer Cornelius de Lange told the court that Plaatjies had denied being at the author's home on the day of her murder, until a witness insisted that he had been there.

The policeman said that, according to Plaatjies statement, his uncle had forced him to "help him with a burglary".

He was to keep Rust occupied while Johannes stole valuables.

Plaatjies has no prior convictions, while his uncle has for a string of crimes, including one for housebreaking, eight for theft, two for assault, and two for drunk driving.

His uncle is yet to plead.

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