20090803

Death of Cassandré van Rooyen solved

 

20080218 Controversial mystery of teen victim Cassandré van Rooyen (17), solved – two youths admit to culpible homicide in accidental shooting

Rooyen Cassandre van 17 Tarlton smallholding teen found murdered Aug 3 2009 – Two youths, Ken Maree, now 18, and an unidentified 15-year-old youth, today appeared in the Johannesburg High Court, submitting confessions regarding the mystery death of 17-year-old Afrikaner teen Cassandré van Rooyen, whose lifeless body was found on a smallholding on 18 February 2008 with a bullet-wound in the back of her head.

At the time, the news media claimed that the girl had been found ‘naked’, however this turned out to be inaccurate information.

The Van Rooyen girl’s mystery death created deep divisions within the local Afrikaner community this entire past year because two Afrikaans youths were arrested and charged shortly afterwards for her ‘murder’, with the police also publicly persisting in referring to the arrested 17-year-old youth as ‘a man’ and angry family members, describing him as a ‘social misfit’, also demanding that he be charged in a public court of law as an adult instead of behind closed doors in a youth court. 

However, it emerged today from the confessoin that then 17-year-old Ken Maree  had been an accessory to covering up the girl’s accidental death, and that the 15-year-old has now admitted to her culpible homicide.

The dead Afrikaner teen lived with the Maree family on the smallholding during the week, and always spent weekends in Alberton with her mother, Maria. it was reported at the time of her death.

Ken Maree on Monday admitted in a statement submitted to  the Johannesburg High Court statement to being an accessory to culpible homicide --  and the 15-year-old youth admitted in his statement to a charge of culpible homicide in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday.

Cassandré was a matric pupil and popular cheerleader at the Afrikaans Bekker High School in Magaliesburg, and was staying at the smallholding when she was shot under circumstances which still remain very murky.

Dressed in shorts and a top, the petite schoolgirl was found in an overgrown garden with a gaping gun-shot wound to the head.

Almost immediately after her death, Ken Maree, then 17, a former pupil at Van Rooyen’s school and a fifteen-year-old already were arrested and questioned by police in connection with her death and charged with murder, according to inspector Solomon Sibiya from the West Rand police, who very persistently referred to the Afrikaans 17-year-old as ‘a man”, was quoted at the time as saying:

Why did the police inspector refer to a 17-year-old as ‘a man?”

It’s still not clear why the youths were being charged with murder instead of being accused of the lesser charges of culpible homicide a year ago: Sibiya also told the news media at the time that the 15-year- old had actually confessed to shooting Van Rooyen by accident, but the boy’s lawyer, Karl Schüler, said at that time that he was not willing to comment on this.

On Monday, the youths’ signed confessions describing the circumstances of the girl’s tragic death, finally seem to be bringing this controversial case to an end.

Thus far all the proceedings were held in camera. Sean Haskins, a friend of Van Rooyen’s stepfather, Boet Jordaan, said: “We want justice. Cassandre was such a beautiful girl.” He said it was upsetting for Jordaan and for him ‘to sit through the proceedings and look at the teenagers accused of killing the popular matric girl.”

Jordaan Boet stepfather of murdered teen Cassandre van Rooyen pic Alon Skuy Since that time, two diametrically opposed support groups have also grown up around the case on the internet, with her stepfather Boet van Rooyen -- right on this picture by the Sunday Times of Johannesburg’s photographer Alon Skuy --  demanding that justice must be seen to be done – in public.

Investigating officer Captain Poen Muller also was quoted as saying just after her death that the Maree family, with whom she had been staying had reported her missing, at the Krugersdorp police station that Tuesday morning. Carl Maree said his family last saw Cassandre on Monday evening, doing her homework.

The entire story will be published in Beeld newspaper tomorrow by their investigative journalist Magdel Fourie.

Policing standards ‘keep dropping”

 

Commanding officer moves into his police station

Gloria Edwards of Beeld newspaper reports from Heidelberg, East Rand that the commanding officer of the local police station has moved lock, stock and barrel into his office. Senior Superintendent David Matlahola has been living in his office at Ratanda police station near Heidelberg since the police stopped paying him (with taxpayers' money) approximately R8 000 per month to stay in a guest house.Beeld was told that staff at the police station have no option but to stand by and watch as Matlahola washes himself in the kitchen every morning.

  • Apparently he's also held meetings in his pyjamas, and has sent officers out to buy his lunch when they should be working.

Matlahola has been on sick leave for the past two weeks, while still staying in his office, said Johan Bester, chair of the Heidelberg Community Policing Forum (CPF) telephone 028 722 1910/1441 . "Staff couldn't get to the photocopiers and fax machines to send or receive important documents."

When Beeld visited Matlahola's office, boxes with his personal belongings, home furniture, mattresses and a bedroom suite, among other things, were lodged in his office. Matlahola admitted that he's been living in his office.

According to Bester, Matlahola, the former commanding officer at the Heidelberg police station, was suspended in 2002 after a charge of sexual harassment was investigated against him. "Apparently he was transferred to Limpopo province, before being transferred back to Ratanda."

A source at Heidelberg police station told Beeld that Matlahola appealed against the suspension and won the case, upon which he was offered the post in Ratanda. Bester said the police have been paying for Matlahola’s lodging in a local guesthouse for about three months at R8,000 per month, while he was supposed to be looking for permanent accommodation.

  • "Matlahola insisted that he be provided with a government house, but as senior superintendent he doesn't qualify for this benefit. About two weeks ago, he had all his possessions stored in his office and other police buildings, and is now living there."

His broken-down private vehicle is parked outside the police station. A police official said Matlahola often sends officers to buy food for him. "The size of Ratanda, and its crime levels don't even justify the presence of a senior superintendent. We've always just had a superintendent as commanding officer," said this unnamed policeman, who was not identified for fear of victimisation.

  • The last-available SAPS crime stats for Heidelberg in Gauteng province date back to the end of 2007, view them:

The complaints of several outraged taxpayers and police officials from Ratanda have fallen on deaf ears, and they are now seeking help from the Heidelberg CPF, said Bester. Matlahola didn't want to comment any further, and referred all queries to provincial police spokesman superintendent Eugene Opperman. Opperman, however, was not aware of the situation. "We thank Beeld for bringing the matter to our attention. The situation will be dealt with internally," was all he would say. http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/a8d1544f675248f5a73a1395affd481c/03-08-2009%2008-08/Cop_moves_into_police_station

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