A judge has ruled that the triple murder on the Steenkamp farm could not have been committed by an intruder, declaring a 17-year-old accused guilty.
The 17-year-old boy accused of the Griekwastad triple farm murder was found guilty on all five charges in the Kimberley high court on Thursday.
Northern Cape farmer Deon Steenkamp (44), his wife Christelle (43) and daughter Marthella (14) were shot dead on their farm Naauwhoek, near Griekwastad, on April 6 2012. The teenager was also found guilty on a charge of raping Marthella and defeating the ends of justice. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
There was no unknown attacker on the farm on the night of the murders, Judge President Frans Kgomo said when delivering the judgment.
"There is no possibility a lone ranger could have entered the house unnoticed. The dogs would have barked."
Explaining his findings, Kgomo said if the evidence was to be believed the alleged "lone ranger" went to the farm unarmed, evaded the family relaxing in an open area of the house to reach the murder weapons in a back bedroom.
"Why would an attacker bent on murder sneak into the house?"
Kgomo said the attacker then killed the three Steenkamps with their own firearms. For no reason at all, the attacker took a hunting knife from the safe, leaving the safe's keys, other firearms and ammunition, and about R32 000 and several wallets containing cash.
'Dumbest farm attacker in SA'
Kgomo said this stolen knife must have been studded with diamonds for the farm attacker to have left all the firearms in the safe. These were rich pickings for farm attackers, he said. He said this attacker then walked away from the murder scene leaving vehicles, with their keys in the ignitions, in the barn.
"They were there for the taking."
Kgomo said the attacker then dropped the murder weapons 50m from the house in the grass beside the road.
"If this was true it was the dumbest farm attacker in South Africa," Kgomo said. It escaped him how such an intruder could have stayed in the house for about 45 minutes without the Steenkamps noticing, before the shooting started.
Referring to the boy's testimony that he was in the barn during the murders, Kgomo said this fact was important for the boy, or he would have seen the attacker while inside the house. Otherwise he was in cahoots with the attacker or he pulled the trigger of the "smoking guns" that killed the family.