Cape Town – The two men accused of killing writer Winnie Rust are believed to have used her bank card to pay for a cellphone, clothes and groceries on the day of her murder, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.
Promising athlete Nigel Plaatjies, 19, and his uncle Johannes Plaatjies are on trial for allegedly killing Rust in her home in Wellington on May 11, 2016.
Taking the witness stand for the State on Tuesday, Wellington Game cashier Jermaine Dampies testified that Nigel paid for a J5 Samsung cellphone and JBL speaker box, at an estimated value of R4 000, with a bank card that had "Rust" written on it.
Dampies had been working at the store's cigarette counter when Johannes and Nigel entered the store.
She said they dropped off plastic bags, filled with recently purchased shoes and clothes, at her counter before they entered the store.
She could not remember what time they entered the store.
After Nigel bought the electronic products, Dampies said she asked Nigel how he was able to afford it.
She said Nigel replied that he "has a budget".
'Something didn't feel right'
Dampies said Nigel told her that Johannes was his cousin.
"Accused number one [Nigel] told me that he and his cousin, accused two [Johannes], were studying at college, but Nigel looked too young for me. Something didn't feel right," Dampies said.
She said Johannes paid separately for the groceries at a cashier, roughly five metres from her, with the bank card that had "Rust" written on it.
Nigel then went over to fetch the bank card to pay for the electronics.
"After he entered the pin, I took out the card where I could see Rust written on it."
Dampies said that after Johannes bought the groceries, he attempted to buy jewellery but the transaction was denied.
"It was denied because it needed authorisation. Authorisation possibly means the bank limit has been reached and we needed to phone the bank for approval."
She said Johannes cancelled the transaction and left the store.
"Both appeared very relaxed," Dampies said.
'Didn't look like your typical crime scene'
Earlier on Tuesday morning, Sergeant Johannes Davids from the Wellington police station, testified that when police arrived at the scene, Rust's body was found with rope on her chest and plastic tape around her neck.
"Rust's husband [Manie] said he removed the rope and tape when he saw the body, as he believed she was still alive."
Davids said there were no signs of breaking and entering on the property.
"No windows were broken, no nothing."
In addition to the murder charges, Nigel and Johannes also face an attempted arson charge for allegedly switching the Rusts' gas stove on and leaving a burning candle next to it.
Davids said when he arrived at the home it smelled heavily of gas.
The candle next to the gas stove was already put out when he arrived at the scene.
"It didn't look like your typical crime scene. There wasn't things lying around or drawers open or anything."
The trial continues.