“He killed my son. Get me out of here.” This was the shocked reaction of Ina Bonette, when she discovered her son dead in the house of Johan Kotze, dubbed the Modimolle monster.
This was the testimony of Marthinus Cloete, who was the first witness to take the stand in the Pretoria High Court trial of Kotze on Monday.
Kotze is on trial with three co-accused, Andries Sithole, 42, Pieta Mohlane, 23, and Frans Mphaka, 29, all of Makapanstad.
It is claimed that they severely tortured, humiliated and raped Kotze’s estranged wife, Ina Bonette, and that they murdered her 19-year-old son, Conrad.
The incident took place in Kotze’s home in Modimolle.
Bonette will take the stand on Tuesday and testify in camera.
Horrific details of alleged tortured have been levelled against all the accused.
It is claimed that Kotze meticulously planned to humiliate his estranged wife by kidnapping and torturing her.
He allegedly had her raped by his three co-accused, who hid their identities by pulling pantyhose over their heads, before he allegedly killed her son.
He lured Bonette to his home while the other three hid in a cupboard.
She was allegedly overpowered, smothered by a towel and tied to the burglar bars, and her mouth gagged with tape.
The torture allegations include that her breasts were pinched with pliers, a nail or needle was repeatedly hit into her breasts, the silicone was pressed out of them and her private parts were cut.
The four accused are facing one count of murder, attempted murder, four of rape and kidnapping, as well as three alternative charges which include assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm and sexual assault.
Kotze’s three co-accused pleaded not guilty and claimed they were forced by him to take part in the crimes.
State witness Cloete testified that on January 3 he and Conrad were at the gym, when his friend received a call from Kotze, who asked Conrad to come to his home as he wanted to discuss something with him.
Cloete said Conrad thought it odd, as Kotze had phoned from Ina Bonette’s phone and they had been separated.
He went with his friend to Kotze’s house, where they were greeted at the door by a “friendly” Kotze.
Ina Bonette’s car was parked outside the gate.
“[Kotze] asked us to help him pack and he sent me to the garage to fetch a crate. Conrad followed his stepfather into the house.”
Cloete said he searched for about 10 minutes but could not find a crate.
When he wanted to return to the house he heard a car leave, and realised that Kotze’s car was no longer parked outside.
He called for his friend as he stood at the door to the house, but there was no answer.
He sent him a text message and sat waiting in the dining room.
Cloete said he thought it strange that there was no one, but thought they had all gone out and would soon return.
A family friend, Vivienne van der Merwe, arrived and asked where everybody was.
He said he did not know and she went outside to phone.
Cloete walked down the passage and saw movement through one of the bedroom doors. He called Van der Merwe and they both walked down the passage – he went to one room and she to another.
“I saw the [my friend] lying on his side in the room. I also saw blood. I went to the room where I noticed movement and saw Van der Merwe busy untying Auntie Ina. She also untied herself from the ropes [fastened] to the window.
“I helped her to untie [herself] and told her Conrad was next door.
“She rushed there. She came out and said: ‘He killed my son. Get me out of here’.”
The three went to the nearby police station. On the way there Cloete tried to phone her parents. “She said Kotze had threatened to go and shoot them.”
After failing in his bid to have the trial postponed as he attempted to prove that he was perhaps not accountable for his actions at the time, Kotze on Monday indicated that he was not in a position to plead to the charges.
His advocate, Bernard Bandjes, told the court he was not happy with the finding of three psychologists that Kotze was of sound mind and found to not suffer from any psychological condition.
Bandjes said the defence employed its own psychologists, who interviewed Kotze under dire circumstances in jail, but they are yet to make their evaluation.
Apart from this, a host of medical tests for his heart and liver functions and sexual transmitted diseases, should be done, Bandjes said. These could contribute to Kotze’s state of mind now and in January when the alleged crimes took place.
Bandjes said without these tests, Kotze was simply not able to plead to the charges as it couldn’t be established whether he could be held accountable for his actions.
Judge Bert Bam refused the postponement and noted a plea of not guilty on behalf of Kotze.
Kotze’s accountability could be raised at a later stage, the judge said.
Bonette on Tuesday remained outside the courtroom for the entire day, waiting with friends for her turn to testify.
Kotze was tightly cuffed to co-accused Sithole as they entered the dock. Sithole peeked out from under a jersey over his head. He refused to remove the jersey and only took it off his head when Judge Bam asked why on earth he was hiding his head. His lawyer said Sithole wanted to “hide his identity” [from the media].