Petition against Sizzlers’ killer’s release on parole reaches close to 7000
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Cape Town - “I’m signing because I’m the sole survivor of the Sizzlers massacre and I’m disgusted at learning of this.”
These are the chilling words used by Quinton Taylor, who was the sole survivor of the Sizzlers Massacre in January 2003.
Taylor signed a petition which was initiated by Leigh Visser, the sister of Robert Visser, who was one of nine victims at the massage parlour in Sea Point in 2003.
Taylor has chosen to remain silent publicly and has not responded to the Weekend Argus for comments regarding the news that Adam Woest, 45, has qualified for parole in the future pending social reintegration requirements.
Visser said Taylor had lived a private life. “He is really selective about the interviews he participates in and who he speaks to, and rightly so, I cannot imagine reliving this is easy for him.”
In 2005, during an interview with the media, Taylor spoke out.
He had miraculously survived despite a bullet to the head.
He had attributed the miracle to God’s mercy upon his life as a born-again Christian.
“I remembered a prayer from childhood and I just repeated ’If I die before I wake, I pray to the Lord my soul to take’ and I think that prayer saved me,” he said at the time.
The petition was drawn up by Visser, who rallied against the parole of Woest, who qualified for the application five years ago but did not meet the requirements.
This week, Correctional Services spokesperson, Singabako Nxumalo said: “The status is still the same, nothing has changed regarding his parole,” said Nxumalo.
“As mentioned before, he did not meet requirements as yet for parole.
Nxumalo told the Weekend Argus Woest was serving nine life sentences and he had been convicted and sentenced in 2004 and was eligible for parole in March 2016 but did not meet the requirements”.
Woest, along with Trevor Theys, was convicted and sentenced to nine life terms for the unforgettable murders at a gay massage parlour in Sea Point which rocked Cape Town and the world.
They were convicted of nine counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery and the possession of ammunition.
The duo had tied up the nine men, shot them, and slit their throats.
The news of a possible parole would be devastating to the families of Robert Visser, Aubrey Otgaar, Sergio de Castro, Stephanus Fouche, Johan Meyer, Gregory Berghau, Travis Reade, Timothy Boyd and Marius Meyer.
Otgaar was the owner of the parlour.
The motive behind the massacre is unknown, though it is believed a robbery was the reason why two men, one who had a girlfriend, had casually stormed inside the house in Graham Street and carried out the killings.
To date, the petition has reached 6 645 people.
Speaking to the Weekend Argus, Visser, who has since emigrated to Canada, was just 14 when her brother was killed.
She was speaking on behalf of all the families who were left with wounds and were still haunted by the men’s deaths.
“It's important that South Africans understand the injustice of the South African legal system if Adam Woest comes up for consideration for parole. If he does get out he would've served a mere three years for each murder,” said Visser.
“It's near impossible to articulate how the death of my brother, and for the other families, their loved ones, has impacted us.
“It's hard to lose a loved one, but to lose a loved one in the manner we did is indescribable. Some say time heals, it doesn't, it just allows us to come to terms with the cold ugly truth, a truth that haunts us, taunting our dreams and every waking minute, a gnawing pain lies dormant until the next memory, nightmare or picture we see of our loved ones.
“This fight for justice has been a tough, rocky road for our families and it will never be over, not while Adam Woest lives.
“With each parole application, hearing, inquiry, we will have to relive the worst day of our lives.
“This for us, the family that is left behind, will never be over.”
When asked why she had begun the petition, Visser said the family had been contacted by a caseworker who informed them that Woest’s profile would make him eligible for parole and that it was important for families of the victims to be part of the process to contest or approve it.
“I started a petition to fight Adam Woest's parole after my family was contacted by a caseworker who stated Adam Woest's profile was being considered for parole and that they wanted us to participate in a VOD process, a Victim Offender Dialogue, which I understand to be the last step in the Offender's Rehabilitation before he can become eligible for parole.
“This is a process that matches the offender with the victim's family for what feels like ’group therapy’ to help the offender and victim to come to terms with the offence, a process that feels like a superficial ticking of the boxes to release the offender into the community.
“My petition was an attempt to fight for justice, and educate South Africans about the injustice of the system if ever Adam Woest was to be released into the community, because ultimately who would have to invite Adam Woest back into their communities are South Africans, a person who tortured 10 men, slit their throats, doused in petrol before shooting execution style while they were praying and pleading for their lives.”
In relation to the overall crime which had been committed, Visser said she believed Woest had lacked empathy and was evil.
“I don't believe a man possessed with this level of evil is rehabilitatable,” she added.
“Adam Woest has shown zero emotion or remorse for what he did, and I believe if ever he started showing any kind of ’remorse’ it would be a fake attempt at buying his freedom.
“Adam Woest lacks the basic human characteristic that makes us human, and that is empathy.
“I can only speak to my pain, the experience from my perspective, a sister, which in itself feels like an unbearable load, a storm that we cannot find our way out of.
“‘I can't even begin to fathom the pain the parents who lost their sons that day felt.”
This is an extract from the petition: “You see Mr President, at just 14 years old my perfect vision of the world and humanity was shattered. Suddenly, my world no longer revolved around Barbies and dollies, crayons and puppies, but instead my world became consumed by boogie men that haunted my every waking minute.
“At just 14 years old I learnt the harsh reality that evil lives amongst us. I learnt that people are hateful, scary and full of rage, at least for the longest of time, that was my 14-year-old perspective of all people. You see, Mr President, at 14 years old, my brother’s arms were tied behind his back, his throat was slit, he was shot in the head twice and doused in gasoline alongside nine other gay men (nine South Africans, one American), in a crime that South Africa has come to know as the Sizzlers Massacre - a day that has haunted me ever since and will continue to haunt me. I tried leaving South Africa to distance myself from the ’scene of the crime’, leaving everything that I love so much behind, and yet from a distance my secret has continued to haunt me.
“Today, the boogie man comes back to haunt me, but only this time in his more mature form, that of a cold-blooded monster with black, expressionless eyes, a monster physiologically inclined toward barbaric violence, a monster whose name is Adam Woest. Today, I found out that because Adam Woest was sentenced in March 2004 his sentencing falls under the Van Wyk judgment for ’lifers’. This is a category of ’lifers’ sentenced before 1 October 2004 who are required to serve at least 20 years before being considered for parole placements, with possibility of special remission and other credits further reducing life sentences to a mere 12 years and four months, according to the Department.of Correctional Services spokesperson.”
“Adam Woest doesn’t fall under the 2004 amendment that holds mass murderers, serial rapists and killers at a minimum of 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole, but rather a mere 12 years.”