The alleged killers of retired SAPS LtCol Danie Dreyer.from left:Estelle Reddy, Gerhardus Papenfus, Kevin Johnson and Ruvan Furst. Picture: Zelda Venter

BIZARRE details of how a retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the South African Police was allegedly murdered and his body doused with caustic soda flakes and wrapped in blankets and plastic before it was dumped in a manhole in Capital Park, emerged in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

Danie Dreyer, 64, the owner of Jacaranda Tombstones, was allegedly killed in his Villieria home before his body was transported to the home of one of his alleged killers, Gerhardus Papenfus, 42.

Papenfus at the time lived with his mother, who also owned the adjacent property, which she rented out.

It emerged in court that Dreyer’s body was thrown into a manhole in the backyard of the rented property. The non suspected tennant lived with the stinking corpse for several days, before Dreyer’s former girlfriend, Estelle Reddy, 36, gave herself up to the police.

She pointed out the house in Capital Park where the corpse was stashed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Petrus van der Spuy of the Villieria police station, told the court that when he went into the backyard of Papenfus’ home, he smelt something vial. 

“It stank of rotten meat. I asked them (Papenfus and his mother)  whether they also smelt it. They said they smelt nothing.” 

Acting on the information received from Reddy, Van der Spuy went to the adjacent property where he saw the manhole. He said the smell was even worse there. 

“When I lifted the lid I saw something which looked like a body, wrapped in plastic. It smelt  terrible. I asked them what it was and they were at a loss for words,” he said.

It is not certain how long Dreyer’s body remained in the manhole. According to the state he was murdered sometime during the Easter long weekend in 2016, which was from March 25 up to April 1. His body was discovered on April 4.

The cause of death was also not certain. In terms of an autopsy report the cause of death is “unascertainable with autopsy examination alone. It was also noted that he had suffered rib fractures and “corrosive chemical exposure’. 

It was said by the State that the accused had bought 75 kilograms of caustic soda flakes which they threw over his body in an attempt to “destroy the body”.  

Reddy, Papenfus and Eersterust residents Kevin Johnson, 31, and Ruvan Furst, 42, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery and an array of other charges, including obstruction of justice. 

Reddy, Papenfus and Furst elected to remain silent regarding their defences. Johnson, however, pleaded guilty to assisting his co-accused in covering the body with chemicals, wrapping it up in blankets and plastic and dumping it into the manhole. 

He also admitted to using Dreyer’s Pin number to withdraw about R1 500 from his bank account.  He said although he did not draw all the money - more than R11 000 - from the bank account, he also benefited from the money, as his co-accused bought food, drugs and alcohol with it, in which he shared.

He, however, denied that he was involved in the murder and said he was in the kitchen while Papenfus and Furst were in the bedroom with Dreyer. He said he at a stage heard someone scream and his two co-accused then called him into the bedroom to come and help.

Johnson said he saw Dreyer laying on the ground in a pool of blood and he assisted the others to try and resuscitate him. When that did not help he assisted them in disposing the body.

It is claimed that Reddy, who earlier had a relationship with Dreyer, opened the house for them. 

After allegedly murdering him, the accused tried to clean-up the evidence by setting Dreyer’s room alight. 

Dreyer’s son, also called Danie Dreyer, yesterday testified that Reddy phoned him on April 2, 2016 and told him there were problems at his father’s house. She told him Dreyer was not home but in the Bushveld.

When he got there he saw the burnt room and Reddy told him it caught fire due to a faulty air conditioner connection. 

He said Reddy and his father earlier had a relationship but they had meanwhile broken it off. She worked for his father and stayed on in his house.

Van der Spuy meanwhile said Reddy out of the blue arrived at the police station and asked him if he knew about the murder. She then told him Dreyer was dead and offered to show him where the body was dumped.