High Court Reporter

TWO STATE witnesses have told the Pretoria High Court that murdered former air hostess Cordelia Prinsloo told them she was terrified of her husband as he had threatened to have her killed.

Prominent Pretoria geologist Cobus Prinsloo is being tried on a murder charge relating to the death of Cordelia on October 12, 2009.

Cordelia was bludgeoned to death with a garden spade while watering the garden.

The family gardener, Lucas Moloi, told the court that he killed her, but said Prinsloo had promised him R50 000 and a house if he did so. Moloi has been sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.

Prinsloo has pleaded not guilty, saying Moloi acted on his own.

Cordelia’s body was found a day after the killing, dumped in a flower bed on the plot where she lived in a garden cottage. She and her husband had divorced after 25 years of marriage. Her former husband stayed on in the main house.

The court has heard that the couple were married in community of property and had bought the plot, north of Pretoria, together. It was said that Cordelia stayed on as she feared losing her share if she moved away.

Cordelia’s body was discovered with a double layer of plastic wrapped around her head. Her body bore marks suggesting it had been dragged to where it was found. She was dressed in what appeared to be pink pajamas.

Moloi said that after the murder, Prinsloo told him that he would dispose of the body.

Prinsloo denied any knowledge of the killing and said the gardener was upset about his gardening wages.

It also emerged during the trial that Cordelia and Prinsloo had obtained family violence interdicts against each other.

Moloi testified that he liked Cordelia.

He said he hit her from behind with a garden spade. She fell to the ground without a word.

He had not received the house and money promised by Prinsloo.

Jackie Lauren, who had employed Cordelia to sell scarves, said that about a month before her death Cordelia appeared to be terrified.

“Cordelia came to fetch some scarves at my house and told me she was very, very afraid for her life. She said she thought her husband was going to kill her. I asked her why and she said it was because she had a lot of information on him.”

Cordelia did not elaborate, but told her she could not move away from the plot as she would lose the proceeds of her share of the property, Lauren said.

“I asked her why she did not go to the police, but she said it was a catch 22 situation as her former husband was friends with the police.

“She also told me that her husband once came to her cottage and kicked down the door, whereafter he raped her. She was extremely anxious and I never saw her again.”

Another witness, Bert van Wyk, testified that Cordelia has told him her husband was threatening to kill her and she was terrified of him.

Van Wyk, a pilot who also does counselling, said Cordelia had been a hostess on two flights he piloted. He once saw her crying at the back of the aircraft after the passengers had disembarked.

“I gave her my number to phone me as we could not speak there.”

They met for coffee a few days later and Cordelia told him she was divorced and feared her husband.

Van Wyk said she had told him she was entitled to a portion of the plot on which they stayed, but her husband was not forthcoming in this regard.

“She said he was stingy and had time and again threatened to get rid of her if she kept on meddling. She also told me that he was a control freak and that he kept her on the plot under his rules. She said he told her he was going to ‘take her out’, but that she knew he was too much of a coward to do it himself.”

Van Wyk said Cordelia phoned him a few days later and told him she had a gut feeling that her husband was planning something.

“She said he told her directly that he was going to murder her. She was terrified and I asked her how she knew he was going to kill her. She said he suddenly wanted to know exactly where she was going to be at all times.”

Van Wyk did not speak to her again. A few days later he received “the bad news”.

Prinsloo’s advocate said his client would vehemently deny he had planned to kill his ex-wife. The defence also objects to what it describes as “hearsay evidence”. The judge said he would rule on the admissibility of this evidence.