Johannesburg - The lover of the man accused of killing four-year-old Jasmin Lee Pretorius said the attack was planned.
Darren Pretorius (not a relative of the family), speaking to the Beeld, said he believed the murder of the girl allegedly by his boyfriend, the child’s uncle, was premeditated.
According to Pretorius, his boyfriend kept asking whether he would be working a night shift on Saturday, when Jasmin Lee supposedly went missing.
When Pretorius left for work, he saw Jasmin Lee and his lover watching a movie with the four-year-old’s older sister, Jessica, on the bed of their grandmother, Isabella.
The Beeld reported that the boyfriend later went for drinks with Jasmin Lee’s father, Morné, and then returned to the family’s flat while Morné went to his girlfriend’s home.
The newspaper said Jasmin Lee went to bed in her father’s room while Jessica went to bed in Isabella’s room.
When Pretorius came home from his night shift, he noticed the sheets on the bed he shared with his lover were missing and the mattress was wet.
When Pretorius questioned him, the lover reportedly told him he had washed the sheets because they were dirty and Pretorius presumed this was why the mattress was also wet.
The Brakpan Community Police Forum chairman for the sector, Gordon James, said Pretorius was staying in Centurion as there were concerns for his safety.
The child’s grandmother is also in protective custody.
Meanwhile, thousands were expected to gather on Friday to remember the murder victim.
Her parents, Sasha Lee Bam and Morné Pretorius, are in protective custody because some in the community blame them for allowing her killer the opportunity to rape and murder her.
Jasmin Lee was raped and killed earlier this week, allegedly by her uncle, who initially claimed she was missing before confessing to having stuffed her body under his bed.
Jasmin Lee and her six-year-old sister were visiting their father for the weekend.
He left them in the care of their grandmother while he went out with his girlfriend.
At a court appearance on Monday, people tried to attack Jasmin Lee’s family, blaming them for the little girl’s death.
Now the police are hoping that the memorial service will give the Brakpan community an emotional outlet and help tempers cool.
The prayer service was held at 10 on Friday morning at the Siloam church on Airport Street in Brakpan.
Community policing forum member Lee-Ann Kuider said they expected between 3 000 and 5 000 people.
Bikers are expected to ride down the street to the church.
Organisers have asked everyone to wear pink because Jasmin was killed wearing a pink T-shirt.
“The parents won’t be at the memorial service. But the grandparents will try and make it,” Kuider said.
“It’s not their fault. Who would think an uncle could do this?” asked Kuider.
“The father is cross with himself.”
She said the grandmother and the accused’s boyfriend had been forced to quit their jobs because community members had shown up at their workplaces and tried to attack them.
Outside the flat where Jasmin died, people have laid flowers and toys.
There are posters calling for the death penalty and a noose has been placed around a photograph of her uncle, with the words “rapist and murderer” next to it.
Earlier this week, Pretorius told Eyewitness News that Jasmin had adored her uncle.
Jasmin’s grandfather, Pastor Colin Bam, defended Pretorius and his daughter, saying the community was being unfair. He said people blamed his daughter, Sasha-Lee Bam, for leaving the girls with their father.
“But the couple were separated and it was the father’s weekend to take the girls. He took them every second weekend,” Bam said.
“He looked after these children like that for over a year and he looked after them well,” said the pastor.
He said Jasmin and Jessica were always well dressed and clean when they came home.
“The girls loved both their parents,” Bam said.
“Morné had just got into a new relationship. He went out and he left his children with his mother, their grandmother. He did nothing wrong,” said Bam. “I was left with my grandmother when I grew up. I left my children with their grandmother. We are all fine. You couldn’t know this was going to happen.”