The lesbian couple who were tortured and killed last year were raped in front of each other, a court has heard.
South African spouses Joey van Niekerk, 32, and Anisha van Niekerk, 30, were murdered last year after being tortured, prosecutors have said.
The couple went missing on December 10, after leaving their home in Mooinooi for Joey’s father’s funeral.
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 allegedly repeatedly raped and hanged in a container on a property belonging to one of the eight people accused.
Joey and Anisha had been married for three years.
Colonel Isaac Tlhape, speaking for the prosecution, said one of the victims was taken inside the house of a suspect and raped while a 21-year-old female suspect watched on.
“The two victims were then taken to a container and tied up,” he told Brits Magistrate’s Court.
Tlhape said an 18-year-old suspect then raped the women again.
After being raped, the van Niekerks were forced to sign a contract at gunpoint, he added.
“The two women were then hanged with ropes and left to die,” Tlhape told the court.
Joey and Anisha’s bodies and clothes were then thrown into dustbins, he said, before two of the suspects soaked them with acid and petrol and set them alight.
“Both bodies were covered with wood and rubbish to make the fire stronger,” he said.
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’.
He told the court in the north-east of the country that he had a “very good relationship” with the two women.
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One of the accused then said he and another suspect spent thousands of the victims’ money on groceries.
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 months since Joey and Anisha’s deaths had been “a nightmare”.
The sister and brother of Joey van Niekerk have said “they don’t know what to think anymore” since their sibling and her wife were killed.
“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.
“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.