Johannesburg - Almost two months before the murder of his wife, George Barkhuizen allegedly took out insurance policies worth R7 million under her name, The Star can reveal.
He also allegedly forged the applications and a new copy of her will.
Barkhuizen’s alleged plot took place just 50 days before Odette Barkhuizen was shot and killed during what had appeared to have been a staged hijacking at the time.
The 43-year-old mother-of-two was shot at point-blank range – once in the chest and once in the head – on June 1 as she stepped out of her car while on a routine trip to her Oakdene, Joburg, office, where she worked with George.
Before her murder, he had bought latex gloves, a plastic poncho, a grey conti suit and black boots in his size in what could have been an attempt to conceal the alleged crime.
Though the pair were estranged and slept in separate bedrooms, they lived and worked together. Odette had asked for a divorce.
Almost two months before her murder, George took out three insurance policies on her life. In late April, he went to Praesidio Risk Managers, where he took out a R2m policy, then proceeded to Sanlam, where he took out another R2m policy. Also on the same day, he took out the third policy with another insurance firm, worth R3.5m.
The Star has seen the application forms for one of the insurance policies, which George has admitted to filling in himself.
His confession came during the three-hour interrogation that led to his arrest on Tuesday afternoon.
In e-mails to the insurers, George instructed them not to contact Odette about the policies because she was in Cape Town to “bury her aunt”.
However, her family have confirmed that she didn’t go to Cape Town, nor did she have an aunt who had died in “a car accident”, as George had stated in his e-mails.
The damning evidence against George is coupled with Odette’s will, which was renewed on April 24.
The will states: “I (bequest) that any and all assets be bequeathed to George Barkhuizen.”
Both witnesses who signed the will, who were George and Odette’s employees, said they didn’t see Odette’s signature on the document when they signed it.
The witnesses revealed this after they were interviewed by Paul O’Sullivan and Melissa Naidu, the private investigators who took up the case pro bono after her death.
Analysis by a handwriting expert also confirms that the signature on the will was forged.
Hannes Hattingh from Forensic Document Consultants said in his report: “The disputed signature is in all probability a simulated forgery of the person’s signature who signed the specimen signatures.”
Hattingh noted the discrepancies in each letter of the signature and stated that the signature was shorter and “the line quality is inferior”.
The Star has seen the will and the report.
The final piece of evidence that has convinced Odette’s family that George is a suspect is a receipt from Builders Warehouse which they found in Odette’s house on the Tuesday afternoon after his arrest.
The receipt, dated April 13, shows that, with his debit card, George bought latex gloves, a plastic poncho, a grey conti suit and a pair of black boots in his size.
George was due to make his first appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.