Beuthin case: Court hears of advert for 'absolute stunner'

A classified advertisement for an “adult stunner” precipitated an alleged assault by former bouncer Gary Beuthin, the Randburg Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday.

The advertisement was in the adult-entertainment section of the Star‘s classifieds, the court was told in a bail application by Beuthin’s co-accused, Melanie van Niekerk (31) and Warren Schertel (34).

The three stand accused of attempted murder, armed robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and possession of firearms and ammunition.

Under cross-examination, investigating officer Director Piet Byleveld testified that the advert did not name a specific woman, nor was it directed at the man allegedly assaulted, Edward Jacobs.

It read: “Absolute stunner. Pvt tel [followed by a cellphone number], Sandton.”

After answering the ad, Jacobs was directed to a house in Morningside where a woman answered the door, accepted money from him then took him to a bedroom.

He was waiting on the bed for the services he had paid for when Beuthin, Van Niekerk and Schertel entered and he was assaulted.

Nigel Riley, appearing for Van Niekerk, submitted that she had merely been in the “wrong place at the wrong time”.

He contended that she was involved in a romantic liaison with Beuthin and been “influenced” by him. Earlier evidence was they were engaged.

Van Niekerk tenderly embraced him in the dock, her arm around his waist as she caressed his back during brief adjournments in the case.

Schertel’s wife, who has been there to support him since the start of the bail hearing, flung her arms around his neck, hugging and kissing him when she was given the chance.

The charges against them are so serious the onus is on them to prove there are extenuating circumstances that warrant, in the interests of justice, granting them bail.

The state contends that outstanding cases against them indicate criminal tendencies and that the knowledge of the minimum sentences they face if found guilty makes them flight risks.

Prosecutor Thys de Jager told the court the state had a “strong case”.

“I cannot think of one exceptional circumstance before this court giving grounds for the positive consideration for bail ...,” he submitted.

It was possible they would commit more crimes and intimidate witnesses if freed from custody, he contended, asking the court to deny bail.

However, counsel for Van Niekerk and Schertel suggested the case was based on little more than the untested word of their alleged victim.

They also called into question his character, referring to evidence by Byleveld that Jacobs, a former president of the Hell’s Angels, had previously faced charges—albeit not prosecuted—relating to the manufacturing of drugs and running of a drugs factory.

Attention was also drawn to the existence of documented disputes between Beuthin and Jacobs regarding money and watches, and which predated the alleged assault.

Riley submitted that the theft case alleged against his client was brought by the 72-year-old married lover she spurned in favour of Beuthin and pertained to gifts he gave her.

Schertel’s legal representative, Sog van Niekerk, submitted that his client had proved he was no flight risk in obeying all conditions of bail and court orders in the other case against him.

He had also handed himself over to the police on learning he was wanted.

Magistrate Fatima Khan postponed the case until December 18 for a decision on bail.

All three accused remain in custody.

Beuthin was released from prison on parole in June after serving 15 years of a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and assaulting his former girlfriend Jill Reeves.—Sapa



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