Cape Town - “I then took a knife and stabbed her. The knife broke and then I took a knife and cut her throat.”
These were the words of Phillip April, who on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the murder of beloved Clanwilliam teacher Allison Plaatjies, who was killed on October 26, 2019.
Plaatjies’s body was discovered in a pool of blood in her flat at Katjiepiering Street, with her throat slit. It is alleged that April tried to decapitate her.
April has been charged with two counts of murder and theft, and yesterday handed in a statement as part of his formal admissions, confessing to her murder.
As April’s confession was read into the record by his lawyer, Office Ntini, Plaatjies’s mother, Ivonne, burst into tears, while April stood with furrowed brows in the dock.
“I plead guilty to a charge of murder of the deceased, known as Allison Plaatjies, by applying force to her neck with my hands, stabbing and cutting her throat with a knife, which caused her death,” April said.
In the statement, April explained: “We studied to become teachers in the same college in Mowbray, Cape Town, and later worked together as teachers in the same school in Clanwilliam”.
He said the day before the incident he had been writing exams on a subject that he failed the previous year, and was upset that the exam had not gone well.
The following day, April said he visited neighbours to watch rugby, where they drank beers together.
In April’s version, after the game Plaatjies brought him food from a school function she attended, so they departed and went to her flat to eat.
“The deceased was not happy with the fact that I had been drinking, and she always reprimanded me for drinking alcohol. Then we had an argument,” April said.
He said the argument intensified after she told him that she was going out with friends while they were watching a movie.
He said he had been riled by the fact that she tore him away from the neighbours when she herself was going out. “The disagreement became too intense and I grabbed her by the throat and choked her. I then took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed her; the knife broke and I then took a knife and cut her throat,” April confessed.
He said after seeing that his tracksuit pants were full of blood, he took them off and threw them in the shower. He further admitted that he took her car and drove to his mother’s house.
April disputed that he stole Plaatjies’s car and pleaded not guilty to theft on account of him usually driving the car.
After the complete statement was read out, State advocate Renee Uys said: “The State does not accept the plea.”
She indicated that the State had been ambushed by the defence in April’s plea and explanation, and that they would proceed with witness testimony today.
Outside court, Plaatjies’ aunt, Lizel Plaatjies said they had been waiting almost three years for the matter to proceed but are still afraid that April might try to find excuses to weasel his way out of accountability.
“We also have that fear that, what if he pleads guilty and then says that he was a bit crazy. We just hope that it’s going to be over and done with because it’s been two years and nine months of waiting and waiting,” she said.
April returns to court today.