By Barbara Hollands
Mass murderer Louis van Schoor walked straight into the arms of his fiancee when he was released on parole after serving 12 years of his 20-year sentence in the East London prison.
He was convicted in 1992 of seven murders and two attempted murders. He was freed on Friday.
Van Schoor, 53, a former member of the police dog unit and security guard, made world headlines when it was alleged that he had killed 39 people.
His modus operandi involved responding to silent alarms set up in business premises, then shooting suspects with his 9mm parabellum.
At one point before his conviction he admitted to a journalist that he had shot 100 people during his career as a security guard between 1986 and 1989.
His daughter, murderer Sabrina van Schoor, 23, was left behind in the same prison when her father walked free. She is serving a 25-year sentence for hiring a hitman to slit her mother's throat in 2002.
She reportedly arranged the murder of her mother, Beverly van Schoor, a Queenstown businesswoman, because she abused her verbally and physically and because she was racist and did not approve of Sabrina's black friends. As the hitman stabbed her mother to death, Sabrina waited in her bedroom with her baby.
Before her conviction two years ago, Sabrina said she wanted her father to look after her child even though she had at one time stated that he had assaulted her mother and threatened to kill her.
Van Schoor would not confirm whether he would adopt his three-year-old granddaughter Tatum.
"I will always support my daughter and will try to create a bond with my grandchild," said Van Schoor, minutes after his release. "I saw Sabrina on Wednesday. We had a nice chat. She is very excited for me. The bond between us will not be broken."
Van Schoor's fiancee, Eunice de Kock, 38, is a Cape Town lawyer whom he says he met "through the media" four years ago. She will be his fifth wife. She wore a black suit, seamed black hose and ankle strap stilettos to meet her lover. The two embraced and kissed passionately before and after a media briefing at Fort Glamorgan Prison.
"She is a very dear friend of mine. We are engaged and we will see where it goes from here," said Van Schoor. "I doubt that we will be living together because she is from Cape Town and I am from East London."
Looking fit and healthy and wearing a bright red golf shirt, he said his intention was to "go farming". He had studied agriculture in prison and spent his leisure time gardening in the grounds.
Reading out a pencil-written media statement, Van Schoor said he was happy to rejoin society.
"I am hoping that after so many years the public will not judge me on my past but rather on my future. I want to thank my daughters, Jane and Amy, and all the friends who stood by me through the last 12 years."
He also thanked prison personnel. "I have no words to describe how I feel and am very excited to see what comes my way. I am planning to write a book about my life."
He initially said he had "nothing to say" to the families of the men he had murdered, but eventually said he wanted their forgiveness.
"To the families and friends of my victims, I apologise if my action caused any hurt and discomfort."
A prison official, Phineas Mouna, described Van Schoor as "a model prisoner" who showed leadership qualities.