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A forensic expert has corroborated evidence that cellphones belonging to the so-called “Sunday rapist” were used in areas where his alleged victims were abducted.
“Those phones went out to Maropeng and then back to that vicinity [the accused's house],” Lt-Col Andre Neethling told the High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Alberton, on Thursday.
He was testifying in the trial of Johannes Jacobus Steyn, who is accused of murdering teenagers Lazanne Farmer and Louise de Waal. He is also charged with 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.
Steyn has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Neethling was testifying about the whereabouts of two cellphones, both registered to Steyn, on the day De Waal was kidnapped and murdered.
He said cellphone towers picked up the signal from the two phones near Steyn's house in Roodepoort at 6.30am on October 12, 2011.
They then travelled 12.3km to the Newlands area and went back to Roodepoort around 8am.
At 10.35am, one of the phones was located at Maropeng, 25.4km from Roodepoort. It was picked up heading back from Maropeng towards Roodepoort at 11.25am.
“The same tower picks [the phones] up,” he told the court.
He said this was an indication that the phones were together.
De Waal's burnt body was found on a Magaliesburg farm, within the Maropeng area.
Earlier, Vodacom employee Petro Heyneke told the court the GPS signal on both of Steyn's mobile phones registered at towers in Danville and Roodepoort on the days and times when Farmer and De Waal were abducted.
The cellphones also registered at eight other locations where the other victims were taken, between 2008 and 2011.
These included an 11-year-old who was abducted in Krugersdorp, a 15-year-old who was taken in Carletonville, a 16-year-old abducted in Rustenburg, and a 12-year-old in Vanderbijlpark.
Heyneke said the data was “as secure as can be”.
“The information is 99.9 percent secure. The system cannot generate information that doesn't exist.”
Neethling would continue testifying on Friday.
Commission for Gender Equality spokeswoman Lulama Nare attended proceedings on Thursday as part of a campaign against gender-based violence and rape of women and children.
She said the commission wanted to observe how the accused and the victims were treated by the criminal justice system, the support structures in place, and to identify shortcomings. - Sapa