Douglas community members vow to kill rape suspect if he gets bail
Douglas - The sight of a Douglas man, accused of kidnapping and murdering her 16-year-old daughter, Yolandre Tolli, was too much for a mother, who had to leave the courtroom on Tuesday when the accused appeared.
Roderick Riaan Francke, 28, is facing charges of kidnapping and murdering Yolandre, a 16-year-old girl from Breipaal, Douglas, whose half-naked body was discovered with her throat slit in a veld on June 6, following her disappearance on June 2.
She was buried this past weekend during an emotionally charged funeral.
Francke was arrested on the same day as the discovery of Yolandre’s bloodied body and appeared in the Douglas Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where he was scheduled to apply for bail.
He has been in custody since his arrest.
According to the State prosecutor, Modisa Seatlholo, Francke is currently facing charges of murder and kidnapping but charges of rape and assault could possibly still be added to the charge sheet, pending the outcome of a post-mortem report.
Seatlholo has indicated that the State will oppose bail following a massive outcry from the community, who had furnished him with a memorandum demanding that bail be refused.
In the memorandum, community members pointed out that Yolandre was murdered during Child Protection Week.
“Violence against women and children must come to an end and the magistrate must send a clear message that this type of violence will not be tolerated. The community feels that ‘enough is enough’. Such horrific and senseless acts must come to an end in order for our children, daughters and women to live in peace and our communities can be safe for everyone,” the memorandum reads.
It further states that Yolandre was a teenage girl in the prime of her life and excelled academically at her school, Weslaan High School.
Numerous community members yesterday filled the small courtroom and even sat on each other’s laps and on the floor, while others remained standing, waiting for Francke to appear. Dozens more community members, who could not fit into the courtroom, stood outside in the corridor.
Among those in the gallery was Yolandre’s mother, Lisa Tolli, who began sobbing uncontrollably at the sight of the accused. She had to leave the courtroom, while proceedings continued.
Magistrate Christo Els said that Francke had, during his previous court appearance, indicated that he would be conducting his own defence but still warned him that he was “facing very serious charges” (kidnapping and murder) and that the case would in all probability be heard in a high court, adding that minimum sentences would apply.
To this Francke responded that he would be applying for Legal Aid, but the matter was postponed to today as a Legal Aid representative was not available.
While Francke was led out of the courtroom, under heavy police guard, one man shouted “Ons gaan jou vrek maak” (We will kill you), echoing the sentiments of the rest of the community, who had also vowed to kill Francke should he be released on bail.
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