Van der Merwe fit to stand trial

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Welkom graveyard murder-accused Maartens van der Merwe is fit to stand trial, the Bloemfontein High Court heard on Monday.

The State said his third psychological evaluation report had been completed. Van der Merwe was sent to Pretoria central prison where a psychologist examined him. His defence team confirmed he was fit to stand trial.

Van der Merwe was brought to Bloemfontein after a circuit court judge could not attend the case in Virginia.

The matter was postponed to October 29 for trial.

Van der Merwe is accused of helping Charne van Heerden murder and dismember Michael Van Eck, 23, at a Welkom cemetery in April 2010.

His trial was separated from Van Heerden's last year. He has yet to enter a plea.

Van Heerden was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years behind bars on November 25, after being convicted of killing and dismembering Van Eck.

Some of Van Eck's remains were found in a shallow grave at the cemetery, while others – including his facial skin, an eye, and his ears – were found in the couple's fridge. Other body parts were found in a cupboard and in their garden. – Sapa


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