Wife killed over poison attempt - witness

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IOL pic may17 justice scales gavel Independent Newspapers .

Pretoria - A policewoman told the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday that Albert van Vuuren murdered his wife because she wanted to poison him.

Warrant Officer Yvonne du Plessis, who was the first person on the scene of Van Vuuren's wife's murder in July 2010, said he was drunk at the time.

Van Vuuren has pleaded not guilty to murder, but has given no explanation of his plea. The state alleges that he stabbed his wife Monica to death in an argument.

According to a post mortem report, Monica died as a result of cervical spine injuries and a stab wound to the chest.

Du Plessis said she went to the Van Vuuren's farm in Bronkhorstspruit after police received a complaint of domestic violence.

When she got there, she saw Monica's body on the kitchen floor and found Van Vuuren sitting at the kitchen table.

He allegedly told her he had killed Monica because she wanted to divorce and poison him.

Du Plessis said she smelled alcohol on his breath and that Van Vuuren could not answer her questions because his words were slurred.

She saw a holster for a hunting knife on the kitchen table, but Van Vuuren said he did not know where the knife was.

She testified that there was blood on the washing machine, the fridge, a kitchen cupboard, on the walls, on a computer table and in both bedrooms.

Du Plessis told the court she did not include Van Vuuren’s confession in her initial statement because she had thought it would not be admissible.

Van Vuuren's advocate suggested to Du Plessis that Van Vuuren’s friend Gordon McCallum may have been involved in the murder.

McCallum testified on Monday that Van Vuuren woke him in the middle of the night and confessed to the murder.

When McCallum told Van Vuuren he did not believe him, Van Vuuren said his wife was dead and was lying in the kitchen.

“I got dressed and ran to the kitchen. I tried to talk to her, but there was no response,” McCallum told the court.

“I was very frightened and ran out of the house... I phoned the owner of the farm.”

He testified that Van Vuuren “had a wild look in his eyes” that night, but otherwise appeared calm.

“I can't say how sober he was, but he did not look right. He looked shocked.”

Farm owner Herman Strauss confirmed to the court that McCallum had woken him and his father that night.

He described Van Vuuren as a friendly and helpful person who was never aggressive.

The trial continues. - Sapa


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