A Spanish judge who won fame with his attempt to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in the 1990s went on trial in Madrid charged with abusing judicial powers.

Linked to nine armed robberies among other things, the two women who have been nicknamed Thelma and Louise made their first appearance in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The women – Nicole Booysens, 25, and Mada Larsen, 24 - face charges of possession of drugs, house breaking, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery.

They were arrested last week.

“Their modus operandi was to approach female victims, threaten them with a firearm and demand their belongings,” police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said. “They targeted people with cellphones, which they sold for money.

“After an intense investigation conducted by Bothasig SAPS, District Watch and Burgundy Estate Security, a cellphone belonging to one of the suspects was tracked. This led to their arrest last Thursday at the City Lodge near Cape Town airport.”

He said it was alleged that they committed these crimes to feed their drug habit.

According to the charge sheet, the women burgled a house near Burgundy Estate last week. They stole a 42-inch TV, a Sony PlayStation, a Yamaha amplifier, a 22-inch PC monitor, a toaster and jewellery from the house.

It was also stated on the charge sheet that on the day of their arrest, police found one bag of dagga, three tik lollies and one bag of tik.

Booysens and Larsen moved into a Parow guesthouse in November.

The owner, who refused to be named for fear of putting his business in a bad light, said: “They were just tenants, like the rest of my residents. I don’t feel that I should get involved in this case because it has nothing to do with me.

“I simply just gave them a place to stay and I was happy. I received my rent on time and didn’t really experience any problems,” he said.

Another tenant, who refused to be named, said she and the rest of the residents were shocked when they heard of the arrest of Booysens and Larsen.

“It was the last thing we expected. We didn’t have much contact with them, but they always greeted,” she said.

The owner of the guesthouse said the women had moved out last week and had left none of their belongings behind.

The case was postponed to January 18 for a formal bail application. - Cape Times

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