Family of lesbian couple killed, raped and set alight in South Africa share grief over their murder
The sister and brother of Joey van Niekerk have said “they don’t know what to think any more” since their sibling was killed in a horrific murder alongside her wife.
Joey van Niekerk and her wife Anisha were raped and killed and set alight in a brutal murder in Mooinooi, South Africa, and were said to have gone missing on December 10 after they left to attend Joey’s father’s funeral.
Their burned-out car was found six days after they left home, with eight men now arrested in conjunction with the case.
“When they did not arrive in Pretoria on Monday, we knew something was wrong. My husband went out to the farm in Mooinooi to look for them,” Rina Payne said.
“When he got there, one of the accused was there with the house keys. He alleged that Anisha and Joey gave it to him. They would never. If they had to leave the farm, they would give it to a good friend in the area,” she added.
The eight accused have been charged with two counts of murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, unlawful possession of a 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.
“It is difficult sitting here in court every day and listening to what these people, accused of doing these terrible things to my sister and Anisha, are saying. There are so many contradictions. I don’t know what to think anymore,” said Payne and her brother, Lourens Erasmus.
“We don’t even know if it is Joey and Anisha’s remains, or maybe only one of them. How can we find peace? We sit here during the day and I think anger keeps us going, but then you get home and fall to pieces. It is extremely difficult, but we have to do it. If only the DNA results would come…”
There has been a worrying number of attacks on lesbians in South Africa in recent times.
In April last year, lesbian Nonkie Smous was raped, murdered and set on fire in a case which shocked the country.