Griquatown teen’s behaviour ‘unnatural’

iol news pic DF Griquatown closing arguments Diamond Fields Advertiser The lawyer for the 17-year-old Griquatown triple murder accused, Riaan Bode, at the Kimberley High Court. Picture: Danie Van der Lith

Kimberley - Teachers at Greys College in Bloemfontein, where the 17 year old accused attended school prior to his arrest of the murder of the Steenkamp family on their farm Naauwhoek, near Griquatown, noticed obvious changes in the teenager’s behaviour.

Educators that taught the minor accused, after the murders told the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday that he engaged in unacceptable behaviour in the classroom, following his arrest.

He was found guilty offor the murders of Deon, 44, Christel, 43 and Marthella, 14 Steenkamp on April 6 2012, as well as the rape of Marthella and defeating the ends of justice.

Life Sciences and Sciences educator at Greys College John Henry Dykman said that the accused, who was usually reserved and quiet, appeared to have gained an air of confident and had become arrogant after the murders were committed.

He added that the accused had often wandered out of the classroom, without permission to stand outside in the sun, as he was getting cold.

“He would pull his pants down to his ankles so that he could tuck his shirt into his pants while walking back to his desk after he had come up to see what I was doing in the classroom.

“Everyone noticed a change in his behaviour as he was usually a subdued and quiet person. I had compassion for the accused as he been through a terrible experience and I did not wish to upset him or subject him to further torment by disciplining him. The best way to deal with his behaviour was not to react under those circumstances.”

He pointed out that based upon his behaviour, the school had not deemed it necessary for the accused to receive any counselling from the school psychologist.

Dykman stated that the accused chose who he wished to associate himself with while he along with all of his friends were all well disciplined

An Afrikaans language teacher Brian du Plessis pointed out that the accused had returned to normal functioning in a short space of time after the murders were committed.

“We did not want to believe that he was guilty. The school, teachers and fellow learners offered their emotional support and sympathy, although it did not seem necessary. During breaks and in between classes, the accused joked around and played around with his friends. I found his behaviour unnatural as I would have expected him to be emotionally unstable. I never got the impression that he found the theme of death in the school curriculum as being difficult to deal with or showed any obvious signs of trauma.”

He described the accused an average academic achiever who had the potential to perform better. At that stage, he did not show a lot of interest in his studies, as he was more focused on his sport including gymkhana.

“He never caused any problems or disrupted the class although he was sometimes behind with his homework. Discipline was never an issue with the accused. He did not have a big circle of friends.”

Defence attorney Riaan Bode said the accused denied displaying any untoward behaviour in the classroom.

“Sometimes he loses his belt when he tucks his shirt into his pants. He does not drop his pants to his shoes or lower. He has a habit that he has done once or twice in class but does not do it extensively.”

He added that as a hostel learner, the accused did not have anyone to assist him with his homework.

“A lot of attention was focused upon the accused after the murders as everyone was monitoring him and his conduct. Whatever he did, would be more noticeable. He never displayed any specific aggressive behaviour.”

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