Winnie Rust's alleged killers to go on trial

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 – Two men accused of murdering Afrikaans author Winnie Rust are set to go on trial in the Western Cape High Court in October.

At their pre-trial conference on Friday, it emerged that Nigel Plaatjies and his uncle Johannes Plaatjies intended pleading not guilty.

There had been talk of a possible plea and sentence agreement for one or both at their last appearance.

Prosecutor Mornay Julius said they would be ready to go on trial on October 9.

He would supply their lawyers with a list of admissions to go through in the meantime.

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.

Nigel’s 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.

On Friday, the court heard that Nigel, 19, would submit a plea statement.

"It will be an explanation of his plea that would shorten the trial," said his lawyer Bruce Morrison.

He added that Nigel’s mother lived in Paarl and found it difficult to visit him at Pollsmoor Prison.

Judge Robert Henney agreed for him to be held at Drakenstein Prison until the trial started.

Morrison agreed that it was in their best interests if the accused were not kept at the same prison.

Johannes put up his hand.

It emerged that he too wanted to be transferred to Drakenstein because his family had difficulty visiting him.

"He is too old. You have to be under 21," Henney said.

The judge said sorry and sent him back to Pollsmoor.


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