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Pretoria - He was branded a wife killer for four years, but Albert Van Vuuren’s name was cleared on Wednesday morning when the North Gauteng High Court found that he was not the person who stabbed the petite woman 25 times with a kitchen knife.
Afterwards a relieved Van Vuuren said he can now again start living his life again.
He was sentenced to a life imprisonment August 2011 when Judge Elizabeth Kubushi said all fingers pointed at Van Vuuren being the killer of his wife Monica. She also found that he had planned the murder.
Van Vuuren appealed against his conviction and sentence. He was out on bail pending his appeal.
In July 2010 Monica was stabbed all over her body in the couple’s Bronkhorstspruit home.
Van Vuuren said he had no idea what happened as he had passed out after drinking brandy and calming pills that night. All he can remember was waking up in the police cells the following day.
A lodger who stayed with the family, Gordon McCallum, gave Van Vuuren the medication.
McCallum, who suffers from bipolar disorder and has been in and out mental institutions over the years, testified that he usually drank his tablets with brandy. He said he had also passed out in his room.
According to him he did not hear any commotion in the house and only woke up when Van Vuuren shook him and told him that Monica was dead.
Van Vuuren only had a tiny speck of blood belonging to Monica on his jeans while McCallum’s jacket was drenched in blood.
The house, especially the kitchen, was covered in blood. Someone mysteriously cleaned the kitchen before the police could start their investigations.
The police never tested McCallum’s jacket, nor did they do any other forensic investigation on the crime scene.
Judge Hans Fabricius said the trial judge erred in finding Van Vuuren was the killer and that he planned the murder as there was no evidence to suggest this.
While the judge said he did not need to rule whether the trial was unfair, he questioned the conduct of the police due to the absence of proper forensic investigation.
Van Vuuren said he is considering legal action against the police.