'Rent boy' held after murders

By Jani Meyer Time of article published Jun 1, 2008

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An alleged rent boy, who had been fired from his job as a topless barman at a gay club in Durban, has been arrested for allegedly killing two people.

Danie Robbertze, 36, and his flatmate, Annicke Thofte, 50, were found dead in their rooms in the flat they rented in 8th Avenue, Morningside.

Both had been shot in the head.

A 23-year-old former Cape Town man, Gordon Christiaan van Niekerk, was arrested and appeared in the Regional Court on Friday.

The case was adjourned to June 11 and Van Niekerk remains in custody.

Police spokesman Inspector Michael Read said the owner of the house where Thofte had a flat became worried when she did not see Thofte as she normally would as she passed by on her way to work.

The owner knocked on the door and tried to phone Thofte on her cellphone. Eventually, she contacted the Berea police.

Meanwhile, a box containing Thofte's documents had been found by the Tourist Protection Unit in a rubbish bin on North Beach. They contacted her employer, Continental Printing Ink. Thofte had been driving a company car, which was also missing.

Berea detectives used a ladder to gain access to the first-storey flat window and when they saw a body a locksmith was called to open the door.

The bodies of Robbertze and Thofte were lying on their beds in their respective bedrooms. Both had been shot in the head.

Police were still at the scene when Van Niekerk drove up to the house. Recognising the car as having been reported stolen from Thofte, Berea detectives Bhejoo Nundball and Nolan Naidoo arrested him. A firearm was later recovered in Mayville.

Cedric Curtain, of Continental Printing, said they thought it was unusual when Thofte didn't show up for work.

"She was such a pleasant woman, soft at heart. She did not deserve this to happen to her," he said.

Van Niekerk was a "topless" barman at The Lounge in Stamfordhill Road before he was fired two weeks ago. He then went to work as a waiter at Bean Bag Bohemia.

Two years ago one of Robbertze's friends was killed, allegedly when he hired rent boys for the friend's birthday.

Tony Steenkamp, 45, had been joined by his friend Robbertze and two rent boys and the one joined Steenkamp in his room while the other kept Robbertze company.

After hearing noises, Robbertze and the other man ran into the bedroom where they found Steenkamp had been stabbed.

The two rent boys were arrested and, after questioning, one was released. The other, a truck driver from Namibia, was charged with murder.

In November last year charges were provisionally withdrawn because witnesses, one of them Robbertze, did not turn up to testify.

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