Family killings in Griekwastad


Young Don Steenkamp is alone since the murder of his parents and sister. Now he faces rumours he pulled the trigger.

It was going to be a difficult conversation. Ben Heckroodt had been the boy’s equestrian trainer and confidante for years – and now he had to tell his talented pupil people thought he was a murderer.

But local gossip was intense and Ben felt he could no longer postpone the conversation. How would 15-year-old Don Steenkamp react?

A few days before, on Good Friday, the youngster had turned up at the Griekwastad police station to say he’d found the bloodied bodies of his parents, Deon (44) and Christel (43), and sister, Marthella (14), in the homestead on their farm, Naauwhoek. They’d all been shot.

Alone after the murders, Don went to stay with Ben on his farm near the Free State town of Jacobsdal, which is about 200 km from Griekwastad in the Northern Cape.

Soon Griekwastad was abuzz with speculation that the boy had pulled the trigger himself. SMSes were even flying between Don’s fellow learners at Grey College in Bloemfontein.

YOU’s Herman Scholtz visited the area and spoke to locals who knew the family. Read more in YOU 26 April 2012.

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