Lotter siblings coping in prison

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Hardus Lotter looks away as his sister Nicolette takes her seat in the dock. File picture: Marilyn Bernard

Durban - The men who defended the trio sentenced a year ago for killing Johan and Riekie Lotter have shed some light on the well-being of their former clients.

 With a WorldCall prepaid card tucked in his pocket, advocate Theuns Botha was to visit Nicolette Lotter at Westville Prison on Tuesday to mark the anniversary.

When asked if she had any other requests, Botha said Lotter – sentenced to effectively 12 years in prison for the July 2008 murder of her parents – just asked for the call card because it was her only way of keeping in touch with the outside world.

Botha visits Lotter occasionally and he said he was amazed at how well she was coping in prison.

She’s studying theology through Unisa, is an active member of the prison choir and gives fellow inmates music lessons.

Botha said Lotter was doing “remarkably well”.

She had a laptop to do her assignments and a strong support structure outside prison of people who brought her books and other things, he said.

“After the sentence, she was in a state of denial, but some time last year I got the impression that she had made peace with her sentence.

“She appreciates that she got off relatively lightly and she’s calm. She’s trying to put everything behind her,” he said.

Botha said Lotter was concerned about the fate of some of her belongings which had disappeared since the Cato Manor organised crime unit was shut down.

“She keeps wanting her guitar, which is packed somewhere along with the rest of the unit’s belongings.”

Youngsters from Port Natal School, in Umbilo, the siblings’ alma mater, had expressed their willingness to get involved and offered some support to woman inmates, he said.

Vijay Sivakumoor, who represented Mathew Naidoo, who is serving two life sentences for the murders, said Naidoo was not the same person he was in the witness box.

In handing down sentence, Judge Shyam Gyanda said Naidoo had shown an arrogance second to none.

“He (Naidoo) has changed a lot. He’s a little withdrawn,” Sivakumoor said yesterday.

Naidoo was having a difficult time with inmates and prison authority.

“Every time a story flares up, he experiences some hostility and it affects him mainly because it also causes his mom distress.

“He has asked me to keep his case low-profile. News about his move to Kokstad made it difficult for his mother. He does not want his mother to have any hassles,” Sivakumoor said.

He said he last saw Naidoo around August and Naidoo was focused on his religious studies. He planned to further his biblical studies, Sivakumoor said.

Plans to petition for leave to appeal were still afoot, he said.

Roland Parsotham, lawyer of Hardus Lotter – Nicolette’s brother – last saw his former client the day he was sentenced.

“I get feedback from Pastor Danny Israel, who says Hardus is doing well,” Parsotham said.

Israel testified on behalf of Hardus in mitigation of sentence.

Parsotham said Hardus, who got 10 years for the murders, had indicated that he wanted to be a pastor when he was released.

“One year has lapsed so fast. I still feel sad for Hardus,” he said.

Parsotham said he would visit Hardus later this year.

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