News24

Phones tracked 'Sunday Rapist' movements

By: Maryke Vermaak, Sapa 2012-08-02 19:05
Johannesburg - A forensic cellphone expert has corroborated evidence that cellphones belonging to the so-called "Sunday Rapist" were used in areas where his alleged victims were abducted.

"Those phones went out to Maropeng and then back to that vicinity [the accused's house]," Lieutenant Colonel Andre Neethling told the High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Alberton on Thursday.

He was testifying in the trial of Johannes Jacobus Steyn, who is accused of murdering teenagers Lazanne Farmer and Louise de Waal.

He is also charged with 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.

Steyn has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Neethling was testifying about the whereabouts of two cellphones registered to Steyn on the day De Waal was kidnapped and murdered.

He explained that cellphone towers picked up the two phones near Steyn's house in Roodepoort at 06:30 on 12 October 2011.

They then travelled 12.3km to the Newlands area and went back to Roodepoort at about 08:00.

At 10:35 one of the phones was located at Maropeng, 25.4km from Roodepoort. It was picked up heading back from Maropeng towards Roodepoort at about 11:25.

"The same tower picks [the phones] up," he told the court.

Secure data

He said this was an indication that the phones were together.

De Waal's burnt body was found on a Magaliesburg farm, which falls in the Maropeng area.

Earlier, Vodacom employee Petro Heyneke told the court the GPS signal on both of Steyn's mobile phones registered at towers in Danville and Roodepoort on the days and times when the two murdered girls were abducted.

The cellphones also registered at eight other locations where the other alleged "Sunday Rapist" victims were taken between 2008 and 2011.

These included an 11-year-old who was abducted in Krugersdorp, a 15-year-old who was taken in Carletonville, a 16-year-old abducted in Rustenburg, and a 12-year-old in Vanderbijlpark.

Heyneke said the data was "as secure as can be".

"The information is 99.9% secure. The system cannot generate information that doesn't exist."

Neethling would continue testifying on Friday.

Commission for Gender Equality spokesperson Lulama Nare attended proceedings on Thursday as part of a campaign against gender-based violence and rape of women and children.

She said the commission wanted to observe how the accused and the victims were treated by the criminal justice system, the support structures in place, and to identify shortcomings.
SAPA

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