‘False confession’ obstructed justiceComment on this story
Palm Ridge, Vereeniging - It did not occur to the alleged “Sunday rapist” that it would be irresponsible to make a false confession to police, his trial heard on Thursday.
State prosecutor Carina Coetzee asked Johannes Jacobus Steyn how he could confess to committing very serious crimes, knowing this meant the real culprit would remain free and could harm other children.
This amounted to an obstruction of justice, she said.
“It wasn't in my thoughts at the time to be honest,” he told the High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Alberton.
Steyn has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, 11 of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, and one of attempted kidnapping.
He made the confession to a magistrate in Krugersdorp the day after teenager Louise De Waal was kidnapped and murdered on October 12, 2011.
Steyn had maintained since the start of the trial that the confession was forced from him. He added that he fled to KwaZulu-Natal after her murder because he knew he would be the main suspect due to his previous criminal record.
“I distrust the police,” he said.
He admitted he attempted suicide as he would have done anything not to go back to jail.
Coetzee asked if this meant he would also kill to prevent this. He said no.
“Someone else's life is not my life.”
Steyn handed himself over at the Margate police station on October 13, 2011.
Coetzee read out parts of Steyn's confession. In it he described himself as a monster.
“That was just what came into my head... It is what the media would call me,” he gave as an explanation.
Coetzee put it to Steyn that his allegedly coerced confession was strikingly similar to actual events. She read out how he apologised in the confession to plaintiffs and their families, for them to get closure.
“The others I let go, but not this one,” Coetzee read from his confession. She asked who he was referring to. He replied that it was De Waal.
Her mother, Shereen, sat in the gallery and asked softly: “But why?”
In the confession, he asked forgiveness from the community, saying this was the first girl he had hurt and killed.
“I am a monster... The others I didn't hurt. Maybe psychologically,” Coetzee read.
She continued reading from the confession how Steyn admitted to abducting De Waal, how he sexually assaulted, raped, and strangled her, and set her body alight using paraffin.
In his confession he described how he took her clothes, a wig, vibrators, and set them alight at another venue.
“That's what I was told to say,” Steyn said.
De Waal's mother covered her mouth with her hand.
During the cross-examination Steyn admitted his addiction to pornography and child pornography.
“It becomes an addiction that consumes all your time and attention,” Steyn said.
“I would get to work and watch pornography before starting my work.”
Throughout the day Coetzee, as she did on Monday, questioned Steyn on his movements on the days the 11 victims were attacked.
He again explained how he called in sick the day De Waal was killed and picked up a prostitute, because he was not sexually satisfied at home.
He claimed a similar alibi for the day two girls were kidnapped in Danville, Pretoria, in September 2010.
Lazanne Farmer jumped out of a moving vehicle in an attempt to escape and died of her injuries.
Steyn said he picked up a prostitute along the Diepsloot road on his way home after he found none in Sunnyside or Pretoria West.
“Once again you and the so-called 'Sunday rapist' are in the same town, at the same place, at the same time,” Coetzee told him.
Coetzee questioned how often he had, as Steyn described it, these “uncontrollable urges” to have sex, the reason he frequented prostitutes so often.
“A man is a man. I am generally in the mood,” Steyn responded, to the amusement of the public gallery.
The trial was postponed until Wednesday morning. - Sapa