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Cape Town - The murder and decapitation of 15-year-old Lee Heinrich Adams has appalled the Ravensmead community, which is demanding that the derelict school where his body was found be demolished.
It is understood there are plans to turn it into a community centre for the Department of Health, according to Public Works.
On Monday, residents gathered outside the Bellville Magistrate’s Court in a bid to catch a glimpse of his alleged killer, and later gathered at a candlelit vigil outside the ruined Florida Primary School to pay tribute.
Lee’s headless body was found at the school by security guards on Thursday. Later, police recovered his head from a hole in a garden about 1.5km away. Police arrested a 17-year-old boy who lived on the property and charged him with murder.
Initially, police indicated that Satanism might have been a motive in the murder, because of the discovery of paraphernalia near where the body was found, but police commissioner Arno Lamoer said on Monday this conclusion could not be drawn.
On Monday, a middle-aged couple and a young woman, believed to be relatives of the youth, were led into Courtroom J at the Bellville court, but because of the age of the suspect, the hearing was held in camera, and supporters of Lee’s family and journalists were barred.
On Monday night, friends and supporters of the Adams family gathered around a table with a photograph of the 15-year-old outside the school.
Pastor Errol Abrahams said the family appreciated the support they had received and trusted the justice system.
“We are still working through this and we are trying to support each other and stand by each other. We don’t want to take the law into our own hands, but we hope to see justice.
“Even though we are broken and heartbroken, we don’t want to take revenge.”
Cosatu general secretary Tony Ehrenreich vowed that the community would make the building safe if the government failed to do so by the end of the week.
He told the family: “When we come together then you know we are here to share your pain, we want to halve your pain. This is a terrible thing. We are all together in all of this.
“We have to do something about this building. By the end of the week they must either close the whole building so it can’t be used for bad things. If not, we must come here and make it safe for our communities.”
Residents agreed, earlier telling the Cape Argus that the building should be demolished.
Michelle Roberts, 41, said: “It is a hotbed for crime, for drugs, for rape. How long before another murder? That building needs to go.”
Roberts has lived in Ravensmead all her life, and described the cruelty of the crime as unprecedented in the area.
On Friday, police approached her at home and asked her to describe her son, apparently suspecting that the headless body was his.
“My heart and my stomach sank. It was the worst feeling - thinking that my son had been killed in such a way,” she said.
She had spoken to Lee’s mother, Gaynor Adams, over the weekend.
“Gaynor told me about how her son excitedly shared plans to write up a CV and to look for a holiday job during December. She kept saying: ‘Why did they not rather take me? My son had his whole life ahead of him.’ It was very emotional.”
Department of Public Works spokesman Al-Ameen Kafaar said the department was putting up a palisade fence around the building and changing the building’s security. He said the department had increased the rotation of guards and asked the police to increase their patrols in the area.
Kafaar said the fencing was expected to be completed by the end of November and the department was finalising plans for the site.
“It is planned to demolish the building. Thereafter the plan is to use the site to build a community day centre for the Department of Health.”
Earlier in court, magistrate Sadiqah Guendouz showed irritation at the amount of attention the hearing was receiving, and asked National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila to leave the court. Ntabazalila complied.
Guendouz also called a group of journalists into the court and threatened to hold them in contempt of court for “making a noise” in the foyer.
Ntabazalila said the case had been postponed, yet Guendouz prevented the prosecutor from releasing the postponement date, venue and charge sheet.