File photo: Supplied.
File photo: Supplied.

'It makes me sick': Family reveals cousin 'confessed' to Janika's murder

By Saafia February/Daily Voice Time of article published Sep 23, 2019

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Cape Town - Janika Mello’s own cousin has allegedly confessed to the 14-year-old girl’s murder, her family has revealed.

On Friday, he and a 16-year-old boy appeared at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court, where the latter was denied bail.

The court found that the matter needed further investigation and he should remain behind bars.

The 18-year-old indicated he would not be applying for bail.

Janika’s family cried tears of relief outside court and said they will keep on fighting until “everyone involved in her murder” is behind bars.

The suspects are back in court on 18 October.

The Daily Voice visited Heinz Park, where a neighbour spoke about the day he discovered Janika’s body.

He revealed he opened his window to get fresh morning air on 1 September when he spotted the girl’s body in her backyard.

“I set my alarm for 8am and got up to look at the weather and saw a girl. She was naked from her breasts down and her pants were below her knees,” the 19-year-old says.

“Her open legs and private parts were facing my window. I ran to wake my aunt and uncle and we went to knock on the door at the neighbours. I did not know it was Janika.”


In fact, Janika’s own family didn’t recognise her until her mother saw her takkies.

The girl’s head and face was bashed in with a huge concrete block that lay next to her and used condoms were strewn around her.

Her mother, Janine Mello, 31, says when she and her mother, Pauline Butler, walked in the yard, they did not recognise the young girl.

“I did not immediately know it was my child. We were looking and looking at this blood-covered figure in the yard,” she says.

“Then I saw the takkies and her dungarees and I said it’s Janika. My heart left me.”

The following day police arrested the 18-year-old, who then led them to the 16-year-old.

Janine adds: “The boy is my cousin’s stepchild. He admitted to the detective that he was the one who beat Janika to death with a brick after they raped her.

“It makes me sick. He now says he does not want bail because he knows what will happen if he comes out.”

Janika, who was a Grade 6 pupil at Northwood Primary in Woodlands, had gone to a karaoke party at Portlands High to support a local soccer club on 31 August.

The teen was dropped off by a taxi close to her home when she was attacked.

Daily Voice

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