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‘Satanic’ attack accused fit for trial

170413. Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Ekurhuleni near Thokoza. Three men and a girl Harvey Isha, Robin Harwood, Lindon Wagner, and Courtney Daniels accused of killing a teenager Kirsty Theologo by setting her alight in 2011. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko.

170413. Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Ekurhuleni near Thokoza. Three men and a girl Harvey Isha, Robin Harwood, Lindon Wagner, and Courtney Daniels accused of killing a teenager Kirsty Theologo by setting her alight in 2011. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko.

Published Apr 22, 2013

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Johannesburg - A man who admitted to setting a teenage girl alight in an apparent satanic ritual could account for his actions on the night, the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

Lindon Wagner had been assessed and found fit to stand trial, Sterkfontein hospital psychiatrist Eddie Pak told the court.

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“Looking at how he was on the days prior to the incident, his behaviour, his recovery, his emotions... there was no psychiatric condition there.”

Wagner and three others are accused of killing Kirsty Theologo by dousing her with petrol and setting her on fire on a hill behind the Linmeyer swimming pool, south of Johannesburg, on October 21, 2011.

She died a week later at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Her friend, who was also burnt, survived.

The four pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, and assault to cause grievous bodily harm.

Wagner admitted to throttling the girl who survived the attack, as well setting both of them alight.

His lawyer Lydia Van Niekerk said her client could not control his actions at the time. Last week, she said he was not able to control his will during the attack.

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Pak said although Wagner told him he had smoked dagga and drank alcohol on the night, it did not mean he was mentally ill.

“Intoxication is not seen as a mental illness.”

Pak said it was also unlikely for a mentally ill person to recover so quickly after such an event.

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Van Niekerk told Pak the girl who survived the attack described her client as gentle and sweet.

“Would this sort of behaviour then be normal?” she asked.

Pak replied Wagner went to work that day and that he was sober. Wagner and others had been discussing Satanism and the ritual weeks before it happened, showing his actions were not sudden or out of character, he said.

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Though there was a history of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia in Wagner's family, he had not shown any symptoms of mental illness.

Pak said Wagner's background and upbringing was brought up in the assessments. Wagner had a difficult childhood, growing up without a father.

When he was 13, an arrangement was made so he could meet his father, but the appointment was cancelled, Pak testified. - Sapa

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