State’s evidence all false – Swanepoel murder accused 

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The three accused in the murders of the elderly Swanepoel couple. Photo: André Grobler

The State’s evidence against him is all false and part of a conspiracy to implicate him, one of the Swanepoel accused said on Friday.

Motsamai Bitterbos was testifying in his own defence in the Free State High Court. The court was hearing evidence in the murders of Toon Swanepoel, 72, and his wife Rienie, 70, of Bainsvlei on Sunday 11 January 2015. The couple apparently returned from church and were overpowered in their house on the small holding.

Bitterbos and two other Bainsvlei men, Fana Ntshedi and Jackie Louw, were arrested and charged with the murders. They also face various other charges such as kidnapping, housebreaking and being in possession of an illegal firearm.

On Friday, the cross-examination of Bitterbos by the State ended after he alleged that all information against him were untrue. “Where did the policeman get all the information in your statement, a detailed statement,” asked State prosecutor, Amanda Bester. “He only asked me my name and address. I did not say (tell) anything to him,” replied Bitterbos through an interpreter. “So, this is part of the conspiracy to get false evidence against you,” asked Bester, and Bitterbos confirmed. The State submitted to Bitterbos that his testimony of finding the victims vehicle beside the road and trying to return it to them was untrue and unrealistic.

The third accused in the matter, Jackie Louw, also testified in his own defence. Louw testified that he was at his aunt’s place on a farm in Bainsvlei during the weekend in question. He denied evidence by a State witness that he was at another place over the weekend. Louw testified that on the Monday morning, he was woken by police knocking on the door. They allegedly just took him away to the police station without explanation. When told about the incident at the Swanepoel farm, he denied all knowledge of it. Replying to an answer about photos where he is seen pointing out evidence and scenes, Louw said he was forced to do it. “I am not doing anything. They forced me to point and I point. I point at things I do not know,” he told the court. During cross-examination by the State, Louw’s testimony was questioned about when he was told of the murders. He testified to a time when the police did not yet knew about the murders. “How can they tell you about a murder if the police did not even know the couple was dead,” Bester asked Louw. He replied he does not know. Louw also could not explain how his DNA was left on some of the evidence found.

During cross-examination by the State, Louw’s testimony was questioned about when he was told of the murders. He testified to a time when the police did not yet knew about the murders. “How can they tell you about a murder if the police did not even know the couple was dead,” Bester asked Louw. He replied he does not know. Louw also could not explain how his DNA was left on some of the evidence found.

The defence counsel of Bitterbos and Louw closed their cases on Friday. The court adjourned until Monday for final arguments in the matter. – andreg@centralmediagroup.co.za  

André Grobler / Bloemfontein Courant