'I walked into the Sizzlers bloodbath'

By Time of article published Mar 4, 2004

Share this article:

By Theresa Smith and Karyn Maughan

It was eerily quiet outside Sizzlers that morning. When Mark Hamilton arrived by taxi at 3.14am, he realised something was amiss - but he could not in his worst nightmares have imagined the scene of butchery he was about to stumble into.

On Thursday, in a hushed Cape High Court, Hamilton told how even when he found bodies scattered across the floor, he could not at first take in what he was seeing.

Finally, as he came across another body in a room soaked in "a huge amount" of blood, the full horror dawned on him.

He fled the scene to seek help.

Accused Trevor Theys and Adam Woest have admitted they killed Sizzlers owner Aubrey "Eric" Otgaar and masseurs Marius Meyer, Warren Visser, Stephanus Fouché, Travis Reade, Johan Meyer and Timothy Boyd.

Both admitted they had attempted to kill the only survivor, who managed to crawl to a nearby petrol station to call for help.

But each man claims the other had planned a robbery at Sizzlers and instigated the nine killings.

As a result of the differing accounts, Justice Nathan Erasmus entered a plea of not guilty for both men, although they had sought to plead guilty.

Woest denies he killed masseur Sergio de Castro or visiting New York antiques auctioneer Gregory Berghaus.

Hamilton told the court he was sure of the time he arrived at Sizzlers, because he noticed it was 3.14am when he paid the taxi driver.

Walking up the steps, he saw that the security gate was open.

"I had been there before, and I knew it should be closed," he said.

The first door on the left, "where the boys slept", was ajar and he noticed bodies on the floor. "At that point it didn't register what had happened," he said.

The second door on the right, which he knew was Otgeur's bedroom, was also open, but he walked past it. In the corridor he picked up a knife lying on a side table.

In the first massage room he came across a body and "a huge amount of blood".

He realised what had happened, put the knife back where he found it and ran to the nearby Total garage to find help.

As he got there, a police vehicle arrived and he asked the police officer to accompany him.

The officer replied that he was busy and that was when Hamilton saw a man in the garage shop with brown duct tape around his neck.

He immediately realised this must be a survivor who had escaped Sizzlers, where he had seen the victims bound with similar tape.

He insisted the police officer accompany him back to the house, where they met two more police vehicles.

At their insistence, Hamilton accompanied them into the house.

"In the first room, the boy on the left was choking to death," Hamilton said.

With the police's help, he removed the gag and the police cut the duct tape that bound his wrists to his ankles.

Hamilton heard a noise behind him and was afraid to look, thinking the attackers were still in the house.

There was nothing on the bed behind him, but when he helped the police to move the bed, they found another victim under it.

"I presume the guy was still alive, because of the noise I heard," he said.

He was asked to leave the house when paramedics arrived.

When asked what effect the discovery had had on him, he said he hadn't slept well afterwards. "Every noise woke me."

He recalled that at first no one was sure who was responsible or of the motive for the killings. "That instilled great fear."

Another witness described the aftermath of the killings and the effect it had on friends and family of the victims.

Jacobus Steyn lives opposite the Sizzlers house and said it was "touching" when people left flowers along the front gate and picket fence.

Woest kept turning to look at witnesses as they spoke, but showed no emotion. Theys simply stared ahead throughout the morning's testimony.

Theys wants to be moved to a different prison because, he says, he fears Woest - after each blamed the other for massacre in the Sea Point gay massage parlour.

Theys asked to be moved from Pollsmoor to Goodwood prison at the end of a dramatic day of confession and recrimination in the Cape High Court on Wednesday.

The judge said he would pass on the request to prison authorities but could not make such an order.

The two accused dispute which man gave the order that Otgaar and his staff be tied up with washing line from Woest's flat. And it has yet to be established who started stabbing the victims.

Woest claims Theys said "we should cut the persons to scare them into giving us more money".

Theys alleges Woest gave him a knife and told him to slit the men's throats, "which I did not want to do".

Expert pathologist Denise Lourens on Wednesday told the court that the cuts inflicted on the victims were potentially fatal only in Otgaar's case.

Otgaar sustained a wound to his carotid artery.

State counsel Stephen said on Wednesday the state would argue that the throat-slitting was a form of torture.

Woest alleges Theys told him to throw petrol over the men, who had been tied up after Otgaar's stabbing.

"I did so and they started screaming and crying," he said.

Theys said he had tried to "comfort" De Castro and Berghaus by promising them "that no one will die".

Woest admitted he had cut De Castro and alleged he had been attacked from behind by Berghaus.

A gun went off and Berghaus was hit in the stomach.

Theys alleges Woest then shot De Castro and told him that it was "too late".

They then started shooting the bound victims in the dorm room.

The trial continues.

Share this article: