'He hated violence, but he died violently'

By Kashiefa Ajam Time of article published Jan 30, 2004

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"It has been more than a year since that horrible day, but it is more painful now that we have to relive it."

These were the words of Fay Berghaus, whose son Gregory Berghaus was one of nine men murdered at the Sizzlers massage parlour in Sea Point on January 20 last year.

Adam Woest and Trevor Theys, who face 13 charges in connection with the incident, are expected to make their first appearance in the Cape High Court on Monday.

They were arrested on February 13 after police identikits were released. They later confessed before a magistrate.

The owner of the massage parlour, Aubrey Otgaar, together with seven of his employees - Sergio De Castro, Marius Meyer, Warren Visser, Stephanus Fouche, Travis Reade, Johan Meyer, Timothy Boyd and Berghaus, who according to court papers was a client, were murdered.

Six of the men died at the scene. Marius Meyer and Visser died at the Groote Schuur Hospital on January 20. Berghaus died there on January 24.

Fay Berghaus told the Cape Times on Thursday it was extremely difficult for her family knowing that they would soon have to be in court and re-open a chapter of their lives they would much rather forget.

"We have lost a loved one. Gregory was an integral part of this family, but there is nothing we can do to bring him back."

"My son was very bright, very generous and kind. He was creative and artistic, with two degrees which he worked very hard for."

"But more importantly he accepted people for who they were. This is an admirable thing ... I am not the kind of person who easily accepts people."

Berghaus said the court case would help to bring closure for the family.

"It is horrible thing to say, I know, but the accused should know what it means to suffer in the same way they made others suffer," Berghaus added.

De Castro's close friend Mario De Biasio said he met De Castro two years ago and gave him a job at his liquor retail and export company.

"He had no family and came to Cape Town from Johannesburg four years ago. We sang together in a choir and we became good friends."

De Biasio said he was glad that the court proceedings would finally begin.

"I, for one, am waiting to hear what will be said in court. We have heard 150 stories about what happened that day and the pieces to the puzzle do not really fit.

"He was young and had a will of his own. There were times when I just wanted to 'klap' him. But now I can't even think that because his life ended so quickly. I still miss him," said De Biasio.

From his home in Theunissen in the Free State, Fouche's father Stephanus said the past festive season was the worst time of their lives.

"He was our only child. We adopted him. But now it's just my wife and I, and it's tough."

He said his son was "straightforward" and hated violence, "but that is exactly how he died - violently".

"My wife is usually a very strong woman, but this has affected her tremendously. We talk about it a lot and it helps," said Fouche.

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