Teen murder accused ‘is innocent’

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iol news pic DF griekwastat fix aug 22

DIAMOND FIELDS ADVERTISER

Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, who along with their daughter, Marthella, 14, were shot dead. Picture: Lizell Muller

 Kimberley - The legal guardians of the 16-year-old boy who appeared in connection with the murders of three members of the Steenkamp family in Griquatown, are continuing to care for him while he is being held at a facility in Galeshewe.

Judgment will be delivered on his bail application in the Griquatown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The Heckroodt family are confident that his innocence will be proven during the trial.

“We have known him for years and he has never shown any signs of aggression or violence towards animals or human beings. Until he admits that he has committed the crime, we will not be convinced that he is the guilty party. We are not ashamed to say that we are behind him 100 percent and are praying for him.”

A family member added that the teenager was coping well under the circumstances, although it was hard to determine his true state of mind.

“Although it is very difficult to put yourself in his shoes, we told him to hold his head up high as there was nothing that he needed to feel guilty about. If you know him, you will know that he is not capable of such a crime.

“He is only a child and has been kept in the holding cells of awaiting trial prisoners for over a week already. We advised him to behave in the manner in which his parents raised him and never be rude to anyone. He is an exceptionally strong person and does not cry easily. Growing up on a farm, you are taught from an early age that you should dust yourself off and not wallow in your sorrows.

“Often people hide their true emotions. We would not know how many nights he goes to bed crying when he is alone.”

He indicated that family, friends, and the boy’s counsellor and grandparents were trying to keep his spirits up and were taking turns visiting him at least three times a day.

“We are delivering home-cooked meals and take-aways to the holding cells, although, like any typical teenager, he does not mind what meals we bring him. He is not allowed to make use of a cellphone, radio or television and we provide him with books and magazines, although he was never a fan of reading before.”

He rejected attempts to paint the boy as a cold-blooded monster as well as claims from the investigating officer that he smiled when he heard the news of his arrest.

“There was never any talk of the sexual molestation of [one of the victims] in court, yet it was published in newspapers all around the country.

“He will have to live with these baseless accusations for the rest of his life. If these allegations are false, the child’s reputation has been sullied.

“Mindful of the fact that when this is all over, he still needs to live a full life, attend church and start a family. We know that God always has a plan although it is not always immediately clear to us.”

He pointed out that if there was any truth to these allegations, it would have formed part of the State’s evidence as a motive for the killings during the bail application.

“It was also revealed during cross-questioning, that the forensic investigators never found any fingerprints of the domestic worker employed there at the scene, which leaves room for a lot of questions. The police are also capable of making mistakes.”

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