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Johannesburg - “I want to speak with the family. I want to ask forgiveness from the deceased’s family,” said Maxwell Nyathi, the man who admitted to murdering Orange Grove resident Barney van Heerden.
Nyathi was testifying against his co-accused, Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Bheki Maseko, on day two of their murder trial in the Johannesburg High Court sitting in Palm Ridge.
He has been sentenced to 20 years, four suspended, for the killing and robbery in exchange for his evidence.
On Monday, Nyathi told the court of how he, Ndlovu, Maseko and Van Heerden drank wine and smoked a dagga joint before engaging in an orgy, after having been invited to visit Van Heerden in September 2011.
After the sexual encounter, the three men overpowered Van Heerden, wrestled him to the floor in a choke-hold, tied him up with shoelaces and wrapped his head in duct tape.
On Tuesday, Nyathi - who claimed not to be homosexual - testified that the group had planned to have sex with Van Heerden before the robbery.
After being excused from the stand, Nyathi spoke through his translator, asking to meet Van Heerden’s family to ask their forgiveness.
Van Heerden’s sister, Anchen Jooste, who has attended court proceedings since the trio were arrested last November, was shocked by the request.
Speaking to The Star, she said she would consider meeting Nyathi.
On Tuesday, the court saw police experts give evidence to prove the three men were on the scene.
DNA expert Warrant Officer Lorraine Harris-Barnes said the DNA of all three accused was at various points around the scene - from cigarette butts to a used condom and a semen stain on the bed.
The doctor in charge of the post-mortem, Shakeera Holland, contradicted Nyathi’s earlier testimony that Van Heerden was alive when they left the house. She said Van Heerden died from strangulation.
The trial continues on Wednesday.