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Crime

Suspects in lesbian murder case ‘stole thousands from victims after raping and burning them’

Josh Jackman January 25, 2018

Joey and Anisha van Niekerk were raped and murdered (Facebook/Wynand van Niekerk)

Two suspects stole thousands from a lesbian couple after they were raped, murdered and burned, a court has heard.

South African spouses Joey van Niekerk, 32, and Anisha van Niekerk, 30, went missing on December 10, after leaving their home in Mooinooi for a funeral.

People hold a rainbow flag as they take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade at Durban's North Beach as part of the three-day Durban Pride Festival in Durban on June 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL        (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
(RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Their burned-out car was found six days after they left home – and on December 28, bones thought to be theirs were discovered along a road near the couple’s home town.

Before being killed, the victims were reportedly trapped in a container on a property belonging to one of those accused.

(Facebook/joey van nierkerk)

They were tortured, then murdered.

Joey and Anisha had been married for three years.

(Facebook/joey van nierkerk)

The eight accused have been charged with two counts of murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, unlawful possession of firearm and defeating the course of justice.

Last week, the man who was allegedly behind the murders told the court that he was “good friends” with the couple.

He said that he had a “very good relationship” with the two women.

(Facebook/Wynand van Niekerk)

And in Brits Magistrate’s Court today, in the north-east of the country, one of the accused said he and another suspect spent the victims’ money on groceries.

Alex Mudau, 36, said that 23-year-old Aaron Sithole had called him and told him to come to his workplace near Mooinooi.

When Mudau arrived, he was given a bank card a PIN written on a box, the court heard.

Joey van Nierkerk (Facebook/joey van nierkerk)

Sithole then told him to withdraw R3000 (about £180) from the card, he said.

Mudau said he did so at a local shopping mall, before going elsewhere to buy groceries with the money.

He said Sithole instructed him to not pay in cash, and instead swipe the card for all purchases.

Anisha van Niekerk (Facebook/Anisha van Niekerk)

Prosecutor Christine Molautsi told Mudau: “You used the card and did not care how much was left in the bank card.

“You did not care, is it because the owners were dead,” she told him.

Mudau said he was not aware that the card owner was dead, and that all he knew was that the card belonged to his friend Sithole.

(Facebook/Anisha van Niekerk)

The prosecutor asked: “You did not care how you spent your friend’s money?

“Did he tell you how much you used on that day?”

Mudau said that Sithole hadn’t told him, but that he intended to pay him back.

Couples march together as members of the South African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade, as part of the three-day Durban Pride Festival, on June 24, 2017 in Durban. / AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL        (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Many of the couple’s family and friends have been in the court’s gallery during the trial, wearing black t-shirts saying: “Geregtigheid vir Joey & Anisha,” which translates as “Justice for Joey & Anisha”.

Wynand van Niekerk, Anisha’s brother, wrote on Facebook that the last few weeks had been “a nightmare”.

There has been a worrying number of attacks on lesbians in South Africa in recent times.

A woman chants slogans as members of the South African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade, as part of the three-day Durban Pride Festival, on June 24, 2017 in Durban. / AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL        (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

In April last year, lesbian Nonkie Smous was raped, murdered and set on fire in a case which shocked the country.

After her death, LGBT people in South Africa were warned that they faced unprecedented levels of violence.

Cindy Maotoana, who chairs an LGBT group in Limpopo, said her community was being targeted – especially lesbians, many of whom have been so-called ‘corrective raped’.

A group of people from the gay, lesbian and transgender community in South Africa demonstrate outside the Parliament in Cape Town, on May 19, 2012. The protesters gathered to oppose the proposal by the House of Traditional Leaders to remove the term "sexual orientation" from section 9 (3) of the South African Constitution, which prohibits unfair discrimination.  AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH        (Photo credit should read RODGER BOSCH/AFP/GettyImages)
(Getty)

RELATED: Four black lesbians were murdered in the space of a week over new year

Maotoana said: “LGBTI [people] are hiding because they are scared of being raped and being brutally burned…so we are here asking support from the province.”

Gay rights activists participate in a demonstration rally marking the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at the North Beach in Durban, on May 17, 2014. The 9th annual event, billed by organisers as the biggest LGBT solidarity event in the world, is aimed at raising awareness about discrimation facing the community and at calling for equal rights. AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL        (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Speaking in May, she added: “Nothing is wrong with us. We do not need to be killed.

She pleaded that her sexuality “does not mean someone has to rape and kill me or even burn me.

Members of the South African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community chant slogans as they take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade, as part of the three-day Durban Pride Festival, on June 24, 2017 in Durban. / AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
South Africa Pride parade (Getty)

“Can you imagine someone being burned alive? It is not good what they are doing to us.”

Speaking in December, Smous’s friend Nthabiseng Mokanyane said: “Since Nonkie’s death, people feel they can get away with everything.

(Photo: JOHANN HATTINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Pride in Johannesburg (Getty)

Earlier this month, 23-year-old lesbian Noxolo Xakeka was murdered in a homophobic attack.

The trial continues.

More: Africa, Anisha van Niekerk, court, Crime, homicide, Joey van Niekerk, Law, lesbians, Mooinooi, murder, South Africa, South Africa

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