Koos Strydom (black and white shirt), his young wife Mercia Strydom and co-accused Aaron (James) Sithole, Jack Sithole and Alex Modau accused of the Mooinooi murders in an earlier court appearance. Strydom has died. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Koos Strydom (black and white shirt), his young wife Mercia Strydom and co-accused Aaron (James) Sithole, Jack Sithole and Alex Modau accused of the Mooinooi murders in an earlier court appearance. Strydom has died. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Joey van Niekerk and Anisha van Niekerk were raped and murdered in December 2017.
Joey van Niekerk and Anisha van Niekerk were raped and murdered in December 2017.
Pretoria - The alleged mastermind behind the gruesome Mooinooi killings of same-sex couple Anisha and Joey van Niekerk - Koos Strydom - has died. It is believed he had committed suicide.

Strydom was rushed to hospital on Friday after he was found unconscious in his single cell in the Kgosi Mampuru 111 Prison in Pretoria.It is understood he may have taken an overdose of tablets, or ingested poison.

While Correctional Services confirmed that he had died, it said that the circumstances surrounding his death are still being investigated, and would not confirm the speculation.

Wynand van Niekerk, brother of Joey, said the Rustenburg community was pondering Strydom's death and the circumstances surrounding it. However, he was also waiting for more details.

Strydom, 54, leaves his young wife and co-accused, Mercia Strydom, 23.

The pair and three co-accused, Aaron (James) Sithole, his brother Jack Sithole, and Alex Modau, were due in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, early in November.

Strydom was also due to appear in October in another court on an unrelated murder charge.

While Judge Bert Bam will now not hear Strydom’s side of the story, several witnesses, including Strydom’s son Vincent, earlier this month gave damning evidence against him in the trial of the Van Niekerks killings.

Vincent was one of several witnesses in the State’s witness protection programme after they turned against Strydom. Like some of the other witnesses, Vincent told the court he was terrified of his father, saying Strydom threatened them with their lives if they ever went against him.

There are also claims that Strydom, while awaiting trial in prison, earlier this year tried to obtain the services of a fellow inmate who was on the brink of being released on parole, to “get rid” of some of the witnesses.

Before the case was postponed to November, the court heard chilling evidence of how the Van Niekerks wept while they were being gang-raped.

Moses Rakuba, who said he was there on the day Anisha and Joey van Niekerk were murdered on Strydom’s plot in Mooinooi., told how they had been hung up in a garden shed adjacent to the main house before their bodies were burnt. The bones were later disposed of in the veld several kilometres away.

Wynand van Niekerk and other family members who were in court were visibly shocked by the gruesome details. 

The couple were murdered on December 10, 2017, after they were apparently abducted from their smallholding and taken to Strydom’s plot.

Witnesses testified that Strydom gave the instructions that they had to be killed after they had signed a bogus contract that he had bought their property. His son testified that Strydom, who ran a panel beating business from the Van Niekerks' plot, had tired of paying rent to them.

Pretoria News