/ 20 January 2006

Laundry murders: Accused denied bail

The four laundry-murder accused were denied bail as their supporting evidence was unconvincing, the Vereeniging Magistrate’s Court ruled on Friday.

”The accused will stay in custody for further investigation,” said magistrate Annetjie Pretorius, prompting a joyous response from family and friends of the deceased.

The case was postponed to February 1.

Charl Colyn, owner of Protea Dry Cleaners in Vereeniging, his daughter Isabel, son-in-law Jacques Smit and family friend Ruan Swanepoel were arrested on January 13.

The Colyns’ gardeners, Samuel Mzizi and Jacob Dlamini, who were arrested on January 10, are appearing in court separately.

The six are accused of murdering Caroline Jocelyn Lesitho, Constance Moeletsi and Victoria Ndweni following an apparently racial labour dispute on January 3.

When the accused were led out of the courtroom, it erupted into chaos with loud singing, shouting and taunts directed at the sombre foursome.

Meanwhile, family of the accused sat crying.

Isabel burst into tears and leaned into her father as Pretorius proclaimed the court was satisfied that she was linked to the murders.

”Evidence before me shows you didn’t play open cards with the court,” Pretorius said.

On Thursday, conflicting evidence emerged on the whereabouts of Charl Colyn and Smit when the murders were committed, and Isabel was shown to have changed her story several times. — Sapa