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Murder-accused camp owner back in dock

Vereeniging - The murder-accused owner of a military-style camp where three boys died continued testifying in the Vereeniging Regional Court on Wednesday.

Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, Alex de Koker took the oath shortly before 10am.

Murder-accused camp owner Alex de Koker File photo: Mujahid Safodien. Credit: Independent Newspapers

The case against De Koker and his co-accused Michael Erasmus was postponed on Tuesday because De Koker was stressed and had high blood pressure.

The two are charged with murder, child abuse, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, relating to the death of Raymond Buys, 15, at their Echo Wild Game Rangers camp.

On Monday, De Koker said he had chained Buys to his bed because the teenager tried to commit suicide.

According to NGO Women and Men Against Child Abuse, Buys was severely emaciated, dehydrated, had brain damage, skull fractures, a broken arm, and bruises and cigarette burns all over his body, allegedly as a result of De Koker's actions and orders. Buys had allegedly been forced to eat his own faeces.

Buys died in hospital in 2011 shortly after attending the camp, designed to “turn boys into men”. He died a month after being admitted to a Vereeniging hospital following a 10-week stay at the camp, during which he was banned from contacting his family.

Three years after the trial started, the State completed presenting its evidence on Thursday.

De Koker testified that all the injuries Buys had suffered were self-inflicted. He had transcripts of recordings of conversations between himself and Buys where he expressed concern over the teenager harming himself.

De Koker's son Anthony, however, testified earlier this year that the conversations were staged. A tearful De Koker told the court his son said this because he despised him.

On Friday, De Koker said he was “negligent” and “unwise” for not taking Buys to see a doctor.

De Koker is being questioned by advocate Kobus Jacobs, for the State. - Sapa

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