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‘Hijack dad’ gets extended bail

Durban - Clean-shaven and dressed in a shirt and tie, Leon van Rensburg looked like a new man when he made his second appearance at the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The New Germany father of three faces charges of defeating the administration of justice after allegedly claiming he had been hijacked in October.

Leon van Rensburg, right, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Rob Gardner, shortly after his first appearance in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court for faking his own hijacking. File picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu. Credit: THE MERCURY

Looking haggard and downcast, Van Rensburg first appeared in court on October 29, when he was released on bail and his case was adjourned.

On Monday, his bail was extended and his case adjourned to December 13, when his lawyer, John Batchelor, is expected to produce his client’s psychiatric report.

Van Rensburg was admitted to St Joseph’s Psychiatric Hospital for depression after the “hijacking”. He has since been discharged.

The “hijack dad” disappeared on Tuesday, October 9. He sent his daughter a message that read, “Help. Hijacked!” A province-wide search ensued.

Van Rensburg turned up in Howick two days later, saying he had been hijacked and kidnapped. It was later found that he had been staying in a Drakensberg backpackers’ lodge.

A warrant for his arrest was issued, but he fled shortly afterwards. A few days later his wife, Shirley, told police that her husband had checked into Cape Town’s False Bay Hospital where he was being treated for depression.

He was later moved to St Joseph’s Hospital.

A condition of his bail is that Van Rensburg report to the Pinetown police station every Wednesday until his case is finalised. - The Mercury

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