Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Pretoria - Was the so-called Modimolle monster a man scorned? On Wednesday,the Pretoria High Court heard that Johan Kotze’s world fell apart when he spotted his estranged wife with another man during New Year’s celebrations.
This was three days before the petite Ina Bonnette was subjected to torture, allegedly at the hands of her husband and three men he is alleged to have instructed to gang-rape her. Her son Conrad was killed in an adjacent room.
Kotze claimed he was beside himself following the events of New Year’s Eve. He spied on his wife and saw her in the arms of another man.
His advocate, Bernard Bandjes, cross-examined Bonnette for the entire day on Wednesday, and is to continue on Thursday.
Keeping her poise and less emotional than she had been the previous day, Bonnette put on a brave face as she answered an avalanche of questions from Kotze’s advocate.
Bandjes started off by telling Bonnette that he “did not for a moment doubt that she was subjected to an extremely traumatic experience”, but it was his duty to state Kotze’s side of the events.
The New Year celebrations triggered the events that unfolded in Church Street in Modimolle on January 3, he said.
Kotze said he was to have spent the evening with Bonnette. Bonnette denied this, saying she and Kotze were already separated and she had no intention of reconciling.
Kotze got information that night that Bonnette was at a dance venue at the Marula holiday resort outside Modimolle.
“My client went there at about nine that night and saw you with another man. My instructions are that you at a stage sat outside smoking with him and you had your arms around each other,” Bandjes said.
Bonnette replied that the man was a client and that she in any event was separated from Kotze.
Bandjes said Kotze was extremely upset, as he believed that he and Bonnette still had a chance to be reconciled.
“Kotze saw you dancing with the man and saw that the two of you on at least two occasions left the dance hall and were caressing each other.
“He was extremely upset and went home. He could not sleep and he went to your house where he waited for you.”
Kotze, who hid in the dark, saw his wife and the man arrive home. At close range he had to face the two of them in a compromising position against the man’s car, Bandjes said.
Judge Bert Bam asked Bandjes what the relevance of this was, but Bandjes argued “it is absolutely relevant to Kotze’s defence” as it pertained to his emotions and subsequent events.
The judge told Bonnette that as these were details of her private life, there was no need for her to answer if she felt it was embarrassing. Bonnette, however, denied she was ever in a compromising position with the man.
Bandjes said Kotze saw all this clearly, as he was hiding three metres from where they were. “It upset him so much that he that night wrote you a letter.”
The letter - it is not clear to whom it was addressed - was later found by the police in the house.
Among other things, Kotze wrote: “Ask my friends what Ina is doing to me. She is destroying my life. She is telling lies and she is two-timing me. I caught her myself. I am done, done, done. Ask my dominee.”
Bandjes said Kotze would testify that the incident with the other man “was the final straw”.
“He did not eat or sleep for the next three days.”
Bandjes said Kotze wanted to speak to Bonnette about this incident when he phoned her to come to see him on January 3.
“Kotze said you at first sat outside talking and you were aggressive. He asked you whether you could reconcile and you said no.
“You then got up and took a vibrator out of your bag, which you threw on the table. You told him he could use this on his new girlfriend.
“While you were walking to the house as you wanted to fetch your things, he shouted at you, ‘What are you doing to me?’ He admitted that he was livid at the time.”
Kotze’s version is that as they walked further, he shouted “terrible abuse” at her and called her a whore. He picked up a towel along the passage and took it to the bathroom, Bandjes said.
“He then heard a terrible noise in the bedroom and you screaming. He ran to the bedroom and saw that three men had grabbed you.
“His version is that he pushed all of you and you fell on the bed. He pushed you down on the bed and asked you why you two-timed him.”
Bandjes said Kotze would testify that all he could remember was that he “five times” begged the men, who had pantyhose over their heads, not to hurt Bonnette.
The court, however, heard that Kotze would further say that while he held down Bonnette’s arms, one of the men fastened her arms with cable ties, which were tied to nylon rope, which had already been fastened to the window and bed post.
At this point the court was adjourned until on Thursday.
Kotze, Andries Sithole, 42, Pieta Mohlane, 23, and Frans Mphara, 29, are facing rape and murder charges. A “not guilty” plea was noted on Kotze’s behalf, as there was uncertainty regarding his accountability. He has been declared to be of sound mind by three Weskoppies psychologists.
The others have pleaded not guilty, saying they were forced to take part in the crimes.