Lotter siblings 'killed their parents for money'
Nicolette and Hardus Lotter smiled at each other and then looked away when the Durban High Court yesterday heard that they killed their parents for money.
Nicolette, 29, who had flashed a smile and waved to relatives before the murder trial began yesterday, avoided eye contact with her brother, and her former boyfriend, Mathew Naidoo, 26, when prosecutor Rea Mina said the trio killed 53-year-old Johan and 52-year-old Riekie on July 19 2008 to gain a share of the inheritance.
Mina said Nicolette and Hardus, 23, wanted their parents dead so that Naidoo could live with them "unhindered".
The court heard that Naidoo was kicked out of the Lotters' home because the parents were unhappy with his presence.
The three pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder but Hardus - who has gained weight and has begun to lose his hair since his first court appearance as a tall, handsome young man more than two years ago - claimed that he lacked criminal capacity when he allegedly murdered his parents.
His lawyer, Roland Parsotham, said he had been subjected to "extreme coercive persuasion" by Naidoo .
Naidoo said in his plea explanation that there was "constant conflict" between the siblings and their parents when he lived with them.
He said he was at the Pavilion shopping centre at the time of the murders and was not involved in their planning or execution.
Warrant Officer Justice Duma told the court that he had interviewed the siblings and Naidoo shortly after the killings.
He had met them a month earlier when Johan Lotter had complained of intimidation after receiving three threatening cellphone SMS messages.
Duma said Johan's naked body was found in the passage of his Westville home. He had a cable around his neck.
Riekie's bloodied body was found in the kitchen. She had been stabbed in the throat and a cellphone charger was wrapped around her arm.
The siblings allegedly strangled their father and bludgeoned their mother after shocking her with an electric stun gun and unsuccessfully trying to inject air into her veins to kill her.
Duma said Hardus told him that two men wearing balaclavas arrived at the Lotter home in a blue VW Golf car. He said that they entered the house, assaulted him and locked him in his bedroom while they killed his parents.
Nicolette, Duma said, told him that she came home from the Pavilion shopping centre to find her parents dead and her brother locked in his room. She then called Naidoo, whom she had just taken to Westville, to contact the police.
Duma said the three seemed shocked but did not cry.