The French couple who died in a standoff with police after killing an officer in Sutherland had developed an odd streak, South African students of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE) said on Wednesday.
The couple, Philippe Meniere and Agnes Jardel, were members of the RSE.
Capetonian Ineke Buskens, who said she had been an RSE student since 1999, said she met Meniere and Jardel in that year.
“I loved Philippe and Agnes. He had a great sense of humour,” Buskens said in a statement issued by the Cape Town branch of the RSE.
“But they had this fanatic streak that became more and more intense and they withdrew from us until we never heard of them or saw them again.”
Another RSE student, Katy Menell, said she met Meniere and Jardel a number of times but had heard nothing of them the past seven years.
Menell said few people, in response to the media reports on the couple, seemed to take the link of Meniere's actions with the teachings of RSE very seriously.
“It seems quite clear that they acted from their own personal perspectives,” she said.
Menell said it was clear that the “tragic actions” of the couple were in no way consistent with what she had learnt at RSE.
Another student, Gernot Zankl, said he last saw the couple at a retreat in Johannesburg in 2004.
During a morning session, Meniere had looked at Jardel and said: “I think we misunderstood the whole thing.”
That afternoon Meniere appeared with his hair cut short and his long beard shaved off completely, behaving weirdly.
Menier also ignored the rest of the gathering as if “he did not know us anymore”. -