Griquatown residents recount trauma

IOL griquatown steenkamp 1204c Don and Christelle Steenkamp

Kimberley - Griquatown residents recounted on Tuesday how they found a traumatised and tense boy near the town’s police station on the night of the Steenkamp farm murders.

The Northern Cape High Court was hearing evidence in the triple murder trail of a 16-year-old boy.

He stands accused of the murders of Northern Cape farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and daughter Marthella, 14, who were killed on the farm Naauwhoek, on April 6, 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Henriette Truter, a restaurant manager from across the police station, testified she got up and immediately fetched sugar water for the boy she heard speaking to police across the street.

She testified she found the boy at the back of the police station at a water basin, washing himself.

Prosecutor Hannes Cloete asked her if she asked him about the blood and she said no.

Truter said the boy drank some sugar water while speaking to her.

She took him, dressed in only short sport pants, over to the restaurant to get him out of the way, for police to do their work.

Truter testified she took the boy out of public view to the bar area, where he sat on the window ledge with his knees drawn up and head resting in his hands on his knees.

“I did not know what to tell him. How do you comfort (such) a child?”

Truter said later she found him in the men’s bathroom washing off a small amount of blood from his leg.

During cross-examination Truter confirmed he was traumatised.

“He talked two octaves higher.”

Asked if he cried, she said he had tears in his eyes.

Reverend Pieter Otto of the Dutch Reformed Church told the court he interpreted the boy’s reaction in the garden of the restaurant as traumatised.

“He squatted on his haunches, with his head in his hands.”

In cross-examination the boy’s lawyer Willem Coetzee asked about the way the boy behaved in discussion with him.

“He was shocked, in my view.”

Coetzee asked him whether there was any unsubstantiated rumours about the Steenkamp murders floating around in the Griekwastad community.

It related to aspects such as what had happened on the night and who was involved.

“Many, many,” said Otto.

He testified he tried at some stage to stop the rumours by talking against it in community gatherings and during church services.

Griekwastad businessman Bob de Villiers also testified that the boy was tense when he saw him in the garden of the restaurant.

“He moved a lot in the garden, he was very busy with his cellphone.”

During cross-examination by Coetzee, De Villiers could not provide the difference in behaviour between a tense and traumatised person.

“I cannot give comment,” said De Villiers.

Earlier, Griekwastad farmer Joachim Scholtz testified that he had burned a blood-stained carpet and green jacket found on the murder scene, with the permission of the investigating team.

In evidence before court, the carpet could be seen beneath the girl's body, and the green jacket was beside Deon Steenkamp's body.

Scholtz was asked on the Saturday morning, after the Steenkamp murders, to clean the murder house.

“Why destroy (the two items)?” Coetzee asked Scholtz, who was the rural safety representative of organised agriculture in the region.

“I suppose it was because it was full of blood,” said Scholtz.

He confirmed a submission by Coetzee that he burned the items on his farm.

The trial continues. - Sapa



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