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Exclusive: Families pin hope on recommendation that killer in Sizzlers Massacre be denied parole as he could re-offend

Adam Woest at the time of his court hearings. FILE

Adam Woest at the time of his court hearings. FILE

Published Jun 25, 2022


IN AN exclusive letter to the families of the victims of the Sizzlers Massacre, the Department of Correctional Services has called for convicted killer Adam Woest’s parole to be denied by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola.

Woest, who is believed to be imprisoned at a facility in Pretoria, is serving an effective sentence of life imprisonment, and has been deemed as showing a lack of remorse, and posing a high-risk of re-offending, according to the Parole Board.

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This is what Leigh Visser, the sister, and Marlene Visser, the mother, of Warren Visser, one of the victims, have been rallying for via a petition, and several letters to Lamola and President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling on Woest not to be granted parole.

The nightmare is nearly over for the families who have had sleepless nights, worrying that Woest will be freed. With the recommendation of Correctional Services in the bag, it could be over soon.

It is to be noted that Woest made an appearance before the Parole Board on September 28 last year, and it was duly recommended that he was not to be granted parole by the minister.

The Parole Board observed that Woest may have the potential to commit similar crimes again if he is released.

During the parole sitting, Woest demonstrated a lack of insight and self-awareness into his own criminal behaviour, and the impact of his crime on his victims.

It was also noted that he was not taking full responsibility for the index of offences. His lack of responsibility is not consistent with someone who has been rehabilitated.

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He also seemed uncaring, and displayed no remorse. According to the CSPB, the offender still poses a high risk for re-offending. He falls within the ambit of the so-called Van Wyk cases and this was his second appearance before the board.

The families of other victims, such as Aubrey Otgaar and Gregory Berghaus, were also included in the emails.

When Weekend Argus approached Marlene Visser for her comment, she stated that Woest being denied parole would not bring her son back but that it could save the lives of so many other of Woest's potential victims.

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“It won’t bring my beautiful and talented son back again but it will keep those safe who might otherwise have died at the hands of a sadistic killer like Woest,” she said.

“He seemed to thrive on the pain and suffering of others, with no remorse.

“At the same time I cry for my son, Warren, and for all those who died a senseless, and brutal death at the hands of Woest.

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“They will never get to enjoy life, and the joys and blessings that the future had in store for them.

“I am so grateful that my amazing daughter, Leigh, fought relentlessly to keep Adam Woest behind bars. Warren would have been so proud of his little sister.”

Lauren Budde, the niece of Aubrey Otgaar said the Department of Correctional Services had failed to keep in communication with families: "We want to know what is the next step from here if the parole board has recommended he be denied parole.

"Is it up to the Minister?

"No-one has come back to us, there has been no communication.

"They have a system in place but they do not know how to utilize it."

Leigh Visser who is Warren’s sister and lives aboard, had begun the petition, said she had asked the department to include her in the parole hearing: “I had asked them both verbally and in writing to be part of the parole hearing, I was not invited.

“The sad reality is, this is just the first parole hearing , as long Adam Woest is alive and I am alive, there is always going to be parole hearings every couple of years.

“This is my biggest fear, that the department will conduct parole hearings and make decisions and release Adam Woest and we will be none the wiser because they do not think it is necessary to inform the family members.

“Why can’t we finalise the process, they are not exercising my rights to be present.

“I am worried there will be a headline one day, Adam Woest has done it again.

“I know I should be happy for the recommendation but what if they come to stage where they say he has completed his rehabilitation.”

Department of Correctional Services national spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, did not respond to several calls, emails and WhatsApp messages from the Weekend Argus.

Last year, Nxumalo told Weekend Argus that Woest was serving nine life sentences, and that he had been convicted and sentenced in 2004, and was eligible for parole in March 2016 but did not meet the requirements.

Woest together with Trevor Theys, were convicted and sentenced for nine murders, and other serious charges at a gay massage parlour in Sea Point.

The Weekend Argus has since learnt that Theys died in 2008 while in prison due to health issues.

The two were convicted of nine counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery, and the possession of ammunition.

They had tied up 10 men, shot them, and slit their throats.

The victims were Warren Visser, Aubrey Otgaar, Sergio de Castro, Stephanus Fouche, Johan Meyer, Gregory Berghaus, Travis Reade, Timothy Boyd and Marius Meyer.

Otgaar had been the owner of the parlour.

The motive behind the killings is believed to be a botched robbery, but it remains a mystery.

The sole survivor, Quinton Taylor, who had miraculously survived despite a bullet to the head, previously told Weekend Argus that Woest should not be granted parole.

Weekend Argus