Guardian of Griquatown teen may appeal

IOL DF griquatown DFA The 17-year-old convicted killer is seen here with family members in court. File picture: Danie van der Lith

Kimberley - The Griquatown triple murder case was postponed on Friday for another two weeks next month, in the Northern Cape High Court.

Pre-sentencing procedures took place this week for the 17-year-old found guilty of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice.

The accused, who was 15 at the time the crimes were committed, turns 18 in August.

Deon, 44, Christel, 43, and Marthella, 14, Steenkamp were shot multiple times in their heads and bodies on their farm Naauwhoek on Good Friday in 2012.

The guardian of the accused told the court that the family had appointed their own private investigator, who had detected errors in the criminal investigation.

“These discrepancies were later addressed by the police.”

He indicated that the services of the investigator were later abandoned because of the costs involved and the fact that he did not have the authority to question witnesses.

“He did not wish to conduct a parallel investigation to the criminal one.”

Despite the guilty verdict that was delivered the guardian is convinced that the minor did not commit the crimes.

“I did not unconditionally accept his innocence. I also accept the judgment of the court and am considering options to appeal.”

He pointed out that someone from Upington prison had contacted the Registrar of the court and informed him that a police officer was responsible for committing the murders.

“He said that the bunch of keys that went missing from the farm house was found in the possession of a certain person and that the murder weapon that was used by the police officer, was later found at the residence of the farm workers.”

He added that they had requested the investigating officer to look into this although nothing came of it.

The guardian judged right winger Cornelia de Wet as being an unreliable witness.

She alleged that she along with a hit squad, were hired to kill the family in order to incite racial hatred.

“De Wet was not able to describe the house or where the farm was located. She had her own agenda, which I know nothing about.”

He added that the teenager had cried when he learnt of the death of the family and wanted to view the bodies.

“He asked me if Marthella, had her own refrigerated compartment in the morgue and if Deon and Christel were together in the same fridge. I had my back turned to him so that he could not see my tears when I told him that I did not have all the answers and it made him cry as well.”

The guardian explained that it was painful for the boy to read in a newspaper article that a private cremation service was held for the deceased, where he was not invited.

“He was just as upset as when Don Steenkamp – Deon’s father – passed away.”

The guardian said the psychologist had advised them to treat the accused as someone who was heartbroken as some people do not show their hurt.

“I could tell that he was grief-stricken and he coped by taking long rides alone on his horse. He would return hours later, in a better frame of mind. I did not know how to deal with the situation so I tried to distract him by carrying on with his gymkhana.”

He added that the accused became emotional during a gymkhana festival where a girl drew Marthella’s horse named 33 from the pool of available horses.

“I admired the way in which he managed to overcome their deaths, at such a tender age.”

He added that his former legal representative Stoffel de Jager had advised the boy not to speak to anyone about the murders including to his guardian and his family.

“De Jager said that we could be summoned to testify in court on what the accused had told us and we decided it best to avoid the subject.”

He pointed out that he would never leave the accused in the lurch, no matter what happened.

State advocate Hanne Cloete pointed out that all possible leads were thoroughly investigated by the police.

“All information regarding the allegations that a police officer had committed the murders, were handed over to the defence and they did not (know) what to do with it as it is hearsay evidence.”

He indicated that none of the Steenkamp family members had attended the cremation service.

“The deceaseds ashes were handed over to the family in December 2012 at the church, where the accused was also present.”

Cloete suggested that should the accused admit guilt, he risked losing his loving and supportive network as they steadfastly clung to the notion that he was innocent.

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