I was visiting mom when Mooinooi couple were slain, says murder accused Mercia Strydom
Pretoria - It was a question of hear no evil, do no evil for the alleged mastermind behind the gruesome Mooinooi killing, Koos Strydom, who committed suicide last year in prison awaiting trial.
While several witnesses who gave evidence before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, have implicated Strydom’s young wife Mercia as being one of the people behind the killings of Anisha and Joey van Niekerk, she has denied any wrongdoing.
The tearful woman has told Judge Bert Bam that she was not at their Mooinooi plot on December 10, 2017, when the couple were killed.
She testified that she had visited her mother in Rustenburg that day.
Wiping her tears, Mercia said she was terribly sorry about what happened to the two women, but she knew nothing about the double murder.
Several State witnesses, however, have earlier testified that the motive behind the killings was that Koos wanted the couple’s plot.
However, he could not pay for it.
It is claimed that he had Mercia draw up a bogus purchase contract, which the women were forced to sign shortly before they were killed.
Witnesses, including the fiancée of Koos’s son Vincent Strydom, Maroecka de Klerk, testified how they had to help Mercia use pool acid to clean up the spot where the bodies of the women were burnt.
Another accused, James Sithole, who was said to have been instrumental in raping and murdering the women, this week testified that he was “not near the plot” on the day the couple were murdered.
According to Sithole, he was “paralytic drunk” elsewhere at the time. This was in spite of Van Niekerk’s evidence that she saw him raping one of the women.
The accused, along with co-accused Jack Sithole and Alex Modau, have all pleaded not guilty to an array of charges, including two of murder and rape.
The court earlier heard gruesome details of how the two women were killed.
A former accused who has turned State witness, Moses Rakuba, has explained in detail during the lengthy trial how tears ran down the faces of the couple while they were being gang-raped.
Minutes later they were both hanged by their necks from a hook in the ceiling of a mobile shipping container on Koos’s plot.
Rakuba said that while he was at Koos’s plot on the day of the incident, he saw the Van Niekerk couple arriving in their car with accused James and Jack.
They each grabbed a woman by the neck at gunpoint and pulled them out of the car.
James pulled Anisha into the house, while Jack took Joey to the shed.
Rakuba said that when he went into the house, James was raping Anisha, while Mercia watched through a half-open door.
Rakuba said he then went to the shed, where Jack was raping Joey.
James then brought Anisha to the shed, where the women were again raped.
“I could see they were traumatised as tears ran down their cheeks,” Rakuba said.
The women’s hands were then tied up and they were then made to sign a document which was presented by Mercia.
It indicated that they had sold their plot to Koos, he said.
The court was told how the remains of the two women were later burnt - one of them beyond recognition - and dumped in a veld nearby.
Their vehicle was also then set alight.
The trial is nearing its end, with evidence of the State and the defence having been concluded.
Legal arguments regarding judgment are due to resume today.