Cop links teenager to Terre'Blanche murder
A police officer has implicated the teenage suspect in the killing of Eugene Terre’Blanche, as week two of the trial kicked off in Ventersdorp, saying blood had been found on the accused’s clothes, and he’d confessed to “overpowering” the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader.
The two accused, Chris Mahlangu (28) and a 16-year-old, who may not be named as he is still a minor, have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Terre’Blanche was murdered on April 3 2010—Easter Saturday—and found by paramedic Robert van Heerden, who said he did not recognise the right-wing leader despite having known him for 24 years.
On the night of the crime, policemen picked up both suspects on a road 5km from Terre’Blanche’s farm, where the farmer’s mutilated body was later found.
Last week, police witnesses testified that they saw blood on Mahlangu’s overalls and that he confessed to the crime. But Monday was the first time a state witness had given evidence to show the teenager may have been involved in the actual murder.
‘Something like blood’
Detective Peter Modise testified that he saw “something like blood” on the orange soles of the teenager’s white rubber boots. He also said the minor confessed to “overpowering” Terre’Blanche over a fight about unpaid wages.
The detective was given permission by the suspects to confiscate their shoes and clothing so he could test them for DNA evidence.
The night the pair was arrested, he took everything from them except their underclothes and later gave them blankets to cover themselves.
Their clothing and shoes, including a rosary that Mahlangu was wearing on the day of the murder, were on display in court.
Modise joined previous witnesses in painting a grim picture of the murder scene. He told the court that when he entered the house it was a “mess”. In the room that Terre’Blanche was lying on his bed, he saw blood—“a lot of it”—on the walls, on the ceiling and all over Terre’Blanche’s body.
The detective added that Mahlangu appeared nervous on the night of the crime and “didn’t talk a lot”.
Protecting minor’s identity
Family members of Terre’Blanche are watching the case on closed circuit television with the media. The case has been broadcast to journalists in a private room in the Ventersdorp court in order to protect the identity of the minor, who has not been seen by the media.
Three men watching the hearing, including Terre’Blanche’s brother, wore shirts bearing the green, white, red and blue “vierkleur” (four colour) flag used by the AWB.
One man’s khaki shirt also read: “100% Boer.”
When the suspects first appeared in court, days after the murder in April 2010, police had to erect fences to separate black residents from Afrikaans people singing the old South African anthem.
But on Monday only police vans and the media’s vehicles were visible outside court.
The trial continues.
For more on the life and times of the slain AWB leader, visit our special report.