By Maryke Vermaak
An identikit compiled by a friend of murdered teenager Louise de Waal led to Johannes Jacobus Steyn’s arrest, the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Alberton heard on Tuesday (24/07/2012).
Warrant Office Riaan Jooste testified that he received a call on October 17, the day De Waal was murdered, from a woman who wanted to remain anonymous.
"She said she saw the identikit on TV and knows the man, and his name was Jaco Steyn.” Steyn, who has been dubbed ”the Sunday rapist”, is accused of 37 counts, including the murders of De Waal and another schoolgirl, 14-year-old Lazanne Farmer.
De Waal’s friend, who was with her on the day she was kidnapped, may not be named as she was a minor at the time.
Jooste narrowed the list down to 17 possible suspects, searched police files and found Steyn in the system because he had previously laid a complaint against someone else.
This led Warrant Officer Danie Pieterse to search for a silver bakkie at Steyn’s house, which he found. However he could not enter the property because the gate was closed.
He entered when a tenant, Hermanus Mulder, arrived and opened the gate for him.
Pieterse searched the back of Steyn’s bakkie and in it found a black bin bag containing De Waal’s school bag and a cellphone cover.
"I opened the black bag and inside I found a pink and grey school bag. On it were stickers with the name Louise de Waal,” Pieterse testified.
Asked whether the bags could have been thrown over the fence, he said this was unlikely as they were placed too precisely.
"All three were precisely in a row next to each other on the bakkie.” Warrant Officer Paul Fern testified that he also saw the school bag in the bin bag, and that he identified De Waal’s belly ring.
He was asked by Judge Sita Kolbe why he decided to search Steyn’s house in Wilro Park, Roodepoort.
"He could possibly have been the Sunday rapist, and on those grounds it was alleged that he kept certain trophies from his victims,” Fern said.
Jeanette and her brother Theunis Ferreira, who live on the Magaliesburg farm where De Waal’s body was found, also testified on Tuesday.
Theunis saw smoke in a wooded area around 11am on 17 October 2011 and phoned his sister to see what it was, as he was busy.
Jeanette testified that by the time she reached the scene the smoke had mostly stopped, and there was what appeared to be a burnt body on the ground.
She notified police and they took charge of the scene.
Captain Martin Smith who attended the scene testified that the body was burnt beyond recognition.
"The body was so badly burnt, the only thing I noticed was the belly ring,” he said to the obvious dismay of family members in the gallery.
He explained that the following day police were told about burnt items possibly belonging to De Waal at another scene about 20 kilometres away.
They found burnt out batteries, keys, pink pants, and bottles of alcohol, he said.
During a break De Waal’s mother Shereen told Steyn to look at her.
"Kyk vir my! Ek wil he hy moet vir my kyk! (Look at me. I want him to look at me),” she told friends and family around her. An unresponsive Steyn kept his head down throughout proceedings, Bible beside him, making notes.
The case was postponed until Wednesday.
Steyn, 36, pleaded not guilty on Monday to the 37 charges against him, which include 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.
The 11 girls he allegedly attacked between 2008 and 2011 in Gauteng and the North West were aged between 11 and 18.
Steyn allegedly abducted De Waal in Roodepoort in October last year while she was on her way to school. He handed himself over at the Margate police station in KwaZulu-Natal the next day.
On Monday Shereen de Waal was asked to identify the contents of her daughter’s school bag.
A friend of the teenager tearfully testified how the death had changed her life. - Sapa