Orderick murder accused seen ’dragging a suitcase’
Cape Town – A State witness in the Orderick Lucas murder trial, Rugaya Gerhardus, testified yesterday that she had seen murder-accused Melvin Volkwyn “dragging a suitcase” the day after the toddler had gone missing.
Gerhardus was one of two State witnesses who took the stand yesterday at the Western Cape High Court before the State concluded its case.
According to Gerhardus, she had witnessed Volkwyn dragging a “black suitcase” just before 5am on March 26, 2019, while she waited for her work transport.
It was Gerhardus’ version that she saw Volkwyn and asked him where he was on his way to “so early”, but Volkwyn had not answered her.
“He was dragging a black case, with wheels and I said the bag is heavy. As he walked, he rested every few minutes because of the bag.
’’He kept walking, I saw him turn down Muller Street (in Melton Rose). Not too long after, he came back past me but without the case,” said Gerhardus.
Curly-haired Volkwyn, in a black denim jacket, shook his head as Gerhardus shared her account.
Gerhardus said though she could not be sure what was in the suitcase, “it could not have been clothes because it looked heavy”, the court heard.
According to Gerhardus, she had then made a statement to the police about her observations “that Thursday”.
Defence lawyer Susan Kuun, during cross-examination, put it to Gerhardus that her statement to the police was made more than a week after Orderick’s disappearance.
Kuun referred to a signed and dated statement given on April 7, 2019.
“I just know it was on a Thursday,” said Gerhardus.
Volkwyn’s employer, Ronel Rass, also took the witness stand yesterday, saying she had known Volkwyn for seven years prior to Orderick’s disappearance and he had been an employee at her hairdressing salon.
Rass said she had last seen Volkwyn on March 25, 2019, after he had told her he was on his way to blow-dry a client’s hair. Rass said Volkwyn had then not returned to the salon, where he also lived, until later that week, on March 28, when police arrived with Volkwyn to do a search of the premises for the missing Orderick.
Rass said she was “furious” with Volkwyn, as she did not know his whereabouts that week.
“He knew there were customers coming there and I didn’t know where he was,” Rass said.
She “blamed” Volkwyn for her hair salon going out of business, as she stopped all work on the premises following the search operation.
According to Rass, when she asked Volkwyn why police would be searching her premises for the child, “he just said he did not have the child and cried”.
The matter was postponed until April 12 for the defence to put their case forward.