‘I just want to understand why I did the things I did.”
That’s the remark alleged “Sunday rapist” Johannes Steyn is said to have passed before making a self-incriminatory statement before a Krugersdorp magistrate after he had called police on October 13 last year, telling them he was at a beach in Margate contemplating suicide.
The charred remains of one of his victims had been found on a farm in Magaliesburg the day before, and the court heard on Wednesday that the 16-year-old – who had been raped and strangled – was still alive when she was set alight.
A pathologist told the Johannesburg High Court that she had found soot in Louise de Waal’s lungs, an indication that she had been burnt alive.
Another girl, 14-year-old Pretoria pupil Lizaan Farmer, was killed when she leapt to her death from Steyn’s moving vehicle in September 2010.
The alleged kidnapper is said to have raped a friend who had been with Lizaan.
But as his trial entered its third day in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Alberton on Wednesday, a lawyer representing the 36-year-old man sought to punch holes in the State’s case, arguing that Steyn had made a confession under duress.
But Warrant Officer Peet du Toit dismissed the torture claims as “absurd” and “totally crazy”.
“At that stage I didn’t know Steyn was linked to that matter (of Lizaan), so I would not have spoken about it.”
Defence advocate Anton Lerm argued that Steyn had walked into the Margate police station to hand himself over before calling Du Toit.
“Margate police laughed at him. They didn’t believe him when he said he was a suspect.”
After officers transported Steyn to Krugersdorp, he had met with Du Toit, who had then told him “he’ll appear in court on Monday and he should plead guilty so it can be a short trial”, said Lerm.
“That’s false,” said Du Toit.
Louise’s mother, Shireen, reacted with shock on Wednesday when she heard details of her daughter’s last moments for the first time.
The trial continues.