Cape Town - A plain wooden coffin adorned with a single white rose carried the body of murdered Tokai teen Franziska Blöchliger to her funeral last night.
Hours earlier, in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, shocking details of her attack had emerged; the 16-year-old had been raped and sodomised.
Members of the media were excluded from the funeral service on Friday night.
Scores of mourners, all wearing white and many carrying bunches of fresh white flowers, entered St Martini Evangelical Lutheran Church in Long Street in the city centre to bid her farewell.
It is understood they wore white to reflect Franziska’s light-hearted personality.
Some mourners wept as they walked towards the church.
At one point a hearse bearing the coffin drove up, but could not immediately enter the church grounds because the entrance had been blocked by a bus.
Franziska’s parents, Shireen and Florian Blöchliger, were not seen entering the church. They were not at the earlier court proceedings.
Shortly before 7pm, bells rang and a hush fell over the mourners. The church was packed and people spilt out onto the steps, craning to follow the proceedings inside.
A sign outside read: “Family wish no press.”
Representatives apparently sent by Franziska’s relatives told Weekend Argus her family was traumatised and wanted privacy during the service.
Two police officers in plain clothes monitored those who entered the church grounds.
Meanwhile, the four men arrested for the teenager’s murder appeared in court on Friday and those in the public gallery heard that traces of semen found at the Tokai Forest crime scene had been sent to the police forensic laboratory for analysis.
Those close to the girl were unable to hold back tears and others, including members of the community she came from, cursed the men.
“Why didn’t they just take her cellphone and go?” one asked as she shook her head.
Franziska’s mother last saw her daughter alive on Monday afternoon when the teenager jogged ahead of her and her other daughter through the forest.
Her body was later found under fynbos, just a stone’s throw away from Pollsmoor Prison.
The following day police arrested the four men – Howard Oliver, Jonathan Jonas, Jerome Moses and Daniel Easter – after they were allegedly found in possession of Franziska’s diamond ring, wristwatch and iPhone.
Moses is from Steenberg and the rest from Westlake Village.
Residents gasped as the men were brought up from the holding cells.
“The devil comes in different forms. That is precisely what happened here. They became devils that day,” Franziska’s former teacher, Jasmina Osman, said.
But she was quick to point out she was mindful the men before court were innocent until proven guilty.
She described the manner in which Franziska was killed as inhumane.
“It was very difficult for me to hear what they had done. Why didn’t they just take the ring and the iPhone and go?”
She said she has been in regular contact with Franziska’s family, who were devastated.
“I can feel the pangs going through (the mother),” she said.
Members of Kirstenhof Crime Watch and Enough is Enough also attended the proceedings.
It is believed Moses is the son of a prison warder.
The four have been charged with murder, rape and aggravated robbery.
Prosecutor Kepler Uys told magistrate Hafiza Mohamed the State was in possession of witness statements which allegedly linked the men to the crimes.
He asked they be held at the Wynberg Police Station holding cells while police verify information around the issue of bail.
The accused are to appear in court again next Friday.
A memorial will be held for Franziska at the Constantia Waldorf School, which she attended, tomorrow.