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Pretoria - “He shot dead my child,” were the first words uttered by the estranged wife of the alleged Modimolle monster, Johan Kotze, on seeing her son's body, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.
On behalf of Kotze, the court entered a plea of not guilty on seven charges ranging from murder and rape to kidnapping and attempted murder.
His alleged co-conspirators, Andres Sithole, Pieta Mohlane and Frans Mphaka, pleaded not guilty to the same charges claiming as their defence, “relative compulsion” by Kotze.
Mohlane and Mphaka claimed they had “never penetrated” the rape victim.
The State has alleged that Kotze murdered his 19-year-old stepson Conrad Bonette on January 3 and kidnapped, raped, sexually assaulted and tried to murder his estranged wife Ina Bonette.
It alleged that he arranged with the other three men to rape and torture his wife, and that he carefully prepared a torture room where the others were waiting for her.
Bonette was severely tortured and sexually assaulted during her ordeal.
Her son's best friend Marthinus Cloete testified that they were at the gym when Kotze phoned Conrad and asked him to go to his house for a discussion.
Conrad had said it was weird that Kotze would phone him from his mother's phone, and was concerned about her as she would not just have given her phone to Kotze.
Ina Bonette and her son were not living with Kotze at that stage.
When Cloete and Conrad arrived at Kotze's home he greeted them in a friendly manner and shook their hands.
He appeared quite normal and asked if they would help him to pack.
Kotze sent Cloete to the garage to fetch a crate, while he and Conrad went inside.
After a while, Cloete went to the house, but saw that Kotze's car was gone. He decided to wait. He tried to phone Conrad and sent him an sms, but received no reply.
When Vivienne van der Merwe arrived, she insisted they look in the rooms.
“I went to the room and found Conrad lying on his side. I saw blood,” Cloete told the court.
“Then I went to the other room... Vivienne was busy untying Aunt Ina. The rope had been fastened to the window.
“Conrad's mother was frantic. I saw blood on her. She said there were three (men). 'Where are the three people who raped me?'
“I said Conrad was in the other room. Then I helped to untie the ropes at the window.
“She went to the room next door. When she left the room she said: 'He shot dead my child (Hy het my kind vrekgeskiet).'
“Then she said: 'Just get me out of here'. We all went to the police station,” he said.
Cloete said he knew Conrad had not liked his stepfather, but that Conrad had not given his reasons for this and that he had not asked his friend about his family's affairs.
Ina Bonette, who gave permission to be named shortly after the attack, will testify on Tuesday. - Sapa