'I guess I never really knew him after all'

By Jeanne Viall Time of article published Jun 29, 2004

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Adam Woest's former fiancée says the Sizzlers killer is a loving, caring man who was never aggressive, but she also hints at a darker side.

She thought she knew the man she had lived with for eight years, so when police told Adele* that Adam Woest was one of the men who executed nine people at Sizzlers Massage Parlour she thought it was bad dream.

"I couldn't imagine Adam doing something like that, let alone killing people we knew," she says. "Eric, the owner of Sizzlers, and some of the boys, were Walter's Grill customers."

Adele, 27, has told her story in the July edition of Marie Claire - The Sizzlers Killer Was My Fiancé.

The picture she paints of Woest, 28, is one of a loving, caring man who was never aggressive.

"People find it hard to believe but Adam is really a soft-hearted, great person and he will probably always stay that way for me.

"Everyone makes him out to be this monster but that's not the person I know. He was always willing to help someone out - he'd give his staff meal to someone rather than see them go hungry.

"I never saw a violent bone in his body."

Adele met Adam in George eight years ago and the couple got engaged three years later.

They moved to Cape Town - he planned to open a computer games shop - and lived in Bellville at first. After a few months they moved to Sea Point where Adele had a private nursing job.

"We were a happy couple. We also had a big group of friends, mostly from Walter's Grill where Adam worked. We were like a family," she says.

Adam wasn't one for secrets, and she says she would have known if he had been involved in anything illegal. He was against drugs and was only a social drinker.

"As for the allegations that he was homophobic, his brother is gay. He's got nothing against them."

Adam loved watching movies, she says. He was a fan of Lord Of The Rings and a Star Trek fanatic.

In her story she hints at a darker side to Woest: "In some ways he was a loner with a dark sense of humour," she says. "He would come up with some weird things sometimes."

He could also be moody.

The shocking murders, in which nine men were shot execution-style, and most had their throats slit, took place the day after she left to visit family in Johannesburg for two weeks.

"I saw it on the evening news and phoned Adam. He said it was terrible and that everyone was shocked.

"Not for one second did I think he was involved."

She spoke to Woest every day she was away and they spoke about the murders, but it wasn't a big part of their conversations.

"I didn't pick up that there was anything wrong. The only strange thing was that Adam said he missed me. He didn't usually say that," she says.

When she returned, Adam had changed his hairstyle and was wearing glasses - and was tense. "But that was Adam. Sometimes he got into a weird mood and wouldn't open up."

A few days later she came home from work to find the police waiting for her. They were looking for Adam.

Adele tells of endless prison visits and how she struggled to come to terms with what happened. She has ended her relationship with him but still sees his mother, who stays with her when she comes down to visit Adam.

Now she's rebuilding her life. It's been hard. She has received death threats and been mugged four times in the past year and believes it is related to the murders.

Her feelings about Adam are confused. At one time she says: "I loved him a lot. In a way I still do."

But later: "I hate Adam for what he did. I thought I knew him, but after this I don't think I know him at all.

"It is confusing to go from so much love to so much hatred. I prefer to think of him as being dead. It's less painful that way."

*Adele is not her real name. She has asked that her identity be protected.

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