Judge studies Griquatown murder site


iol news pic DF steenkamp farm

INLSA

Seen here is the farm where the murder of the Steenkamp family occured. Picture: Johnnie van Niekerk

Griquatown - The Northern Cape High Court did an in loco inspection on Monday of the farm where three family members were killed in Griekwastad last year.

Judge Frans Kgomo is presiding over the trial of a 16-year-old youth accused of killing farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and daughter Marthella, 14, on the farm Naauwhoek, on April 6.

The judge's inspection started in the charge office of the Griekwastad police station, on the town's main road.

The judge, court personnel, the prosecuting team, the defence and media followed case investigator Colonel Dick de Waal along a badly maintained gravel road to the farm nine kilometres outside town.

De Waal stopped twice for prosecutor Hannes Cloete to indicate points which have been mentioned in evidence and which will come up in future testimony in court.

The Naauwhoek farm, on the road to Niekerkshoop, has two entrances both with locked farm gates painted silver.

The first entrance route goes past the houses of farmworkers, where certain aspects were pointed out to Kgomo by the prosecution and defence.

The nine-vehicle procession entered the farm-yard through the main gate, as indicated by a white sign sponsored by a local agricultural company.

In the desolate back yard was a single tyre swing in a gap of medium sized poplar trees, directly in line with the back door.

A narrow steel framed radio tower with a dish and television antennae stood next to the house, near the back door. A netball or basketball ring had been welded to the tower. There was no cellphone connection on the farm.

As the vehicles stopped beside the house, the only sound was of a single sprinkler on a green and well-kept lawn at the front door.

Four other sprinklers were silently watering different parts of the garden.

All the blinds and curtains were drawn in the light pink house.

Kgoma was first shown the barn, 30 metres behind the house.

There were virtually no farm tools outside the barn, except for a silver anvil stand to the left of the door and a 2200 litre locked, dry, diesel tank, also painted silver, to one side of the sliding doors.

A nearby chicken coop or lamb shelter was empty and overgrown with grass.

In the barn, the judge was shown the meat room and refrigerator at the back. On the way out, time was spent at the working bench in the right-hand corner, next to the door.

Cloete indicated that the house's back door was visible through a window.

Defence counsel Willem Coetzee drew attention to the windows, which were blackened, apparently from welding done at the bench.

At the house, Kgomo was shown a bullet hole in the asbestos-type wall near the back door.

The hour-and-a-half long in loco inspection ended with a walk through the house.

No attention was given to the front of the house, which featured a home-built stone swimming pool, a braai and an entertainment area.

This was the first time the media was allowed on the farm since the murders.

The court is expected to sit again in Kimberley on Tuesday. - Sapa


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