'Only God can judge me' - Naidoo

14 March 2012 - 02:40 By NIVASHNI NAIR

Christelle Lotter has "absolutely nothing" to say to her murderous brother and sister.

A Westville church member, who has supported the Lotter siblings since their first court appearance in 2008, comforts Nicolette Lotter, found guilty yesterday of killing her parents See Page 2
A Westville church member, who has supported the Lotter siblings since their first court appearance in 2008, comforts Nicolette Lotter, found guilty yesterday of killing her parents See Page 2
A Westville church member, who has supported the Lotter siblings since their first court appearance in 2008, comforts Nicolette Lotter, found guilty yesterday of killing her parents See Page 2
A Westville church member, who has supported the Lotter siblings since their first court appearance in 2008, comforts Nicolette Lotter, found guilty yesterday of killing her parents See Page 2

She has not seen nor spoken to her younger siblings, Nicolette and Hardus, since their parents' brutal murder in 2008.

Choosing not to attend or follow their trial, Christelle was yesterday informed of their convictions by her attorney, Piet Matthee.

"I am glad that, after a long time, the matter is reaching finality. Although it is still very unreal, incomprehensive and so sad, I trust with time there will be a measure of healing for me and my family," she said.

Speaking through Matthee, Christelle said the family she referred to are her aunts and uncles as she has nothing to say to her siblings and wishes to remain estranged.

The Stellenbosch student will become the sole beneficiary of her parents' more than R2-million estate as the law does not allow "bloody hands" to inherit.

An application launched last year to declare her siblings unfit to inherit will fall away following yesterday's conviction.

The state alleged that the siblings and Nicolette's former boyfriend, Mathew Naidoo, committed the murders to gain a share of the inheritance.

However, the court found that Naidoo had initially planned the murders because of Johan Lotter's disapproval of his relationship with Nicolette, but later did it for money.

Shortly after Durban High Court Judge Shyam Gyanda found the trio guilty of killing Johan and Riekie Lotter in 2008, Hardus said he did not plan to contact Christelle.

"Not at the moment. I won't be contacting her any time soon," he said.

Hardus shook his head and said "listen to the lies" as Naidoo, who was seated next to him in the dock, told journalists that he could only be judged by God.

But Hardus is willing to forgive Naidoo for coercing him into killing his parents.

"I will forgive him one day. As a Christian I can't be a hypocrite so I will forgive," he said.

Last year Hardus told the court he had attacked his mother with a stun gun, hit her with his fists and sat on her for about 15 minutes before Nicolette stabbed her repeatedly. He had strangled his father with an electric cable.

Yesterday he cried when he hugged his aunts.

He said he was anxious about a possible jail term, but knew he would not spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"I know how the prison system works. I won't be there for the rest of my life," Hardus said before adding that he may write a book on the double murder.

Nicolette held her Bible and rosary when she said: "He controlled us and now everyone can see that."

Naidoo wiped his eyes after his mother, Rita, hugged him.

"My boy, my boy," she said as she cried on his shoulder.

When asked if he was scared at the prospect of life imprisonment, Naidoo said: "Do I look scared?

"I didn't kill anyone. Only God can judge me. I am a Christian and I believe in God , so I will accept what has happened, but I know I didn't kill anyone. I do not hate anyone."

In his judgment, Judge Gyanda said while the ordinary man on the street may find the siblings' brainwashing theory laughable, experts have found that thousands of people around the world have been conned by charismatic leaders.

He said Naidoo, the mastermind, "fancied himself cleverer than everyone else".

"He was arrogant and boastful. He is a pathological liar," Judge Gyanda said.

He said the evidence in court made it abundantly clear that Naidoo portrayed himself as the son of God.

Naidoo must have known from the outset that Nicolette's vulnerability made her fertile ground in which thought processes could be inculcated, the court found.

Gyanda said when Naidoo told Nicolette that he would protect her by telling police that he stabbed her mother, it was not because he was in love with her but merely an act to protect his expectations of her inheritance.

But Naidoo's manipulation did not excuse the siblings from criminal liability.

Judge Gyanda said Hardus' reluctance to commit the murder and Nicolette's deviation from the original plan when "things went haywire" showed that they were not "so controlled and possessed by Naidoo" and therefore they are criminally liable for their parents' murder.

A group of Clifton High School pupils, who plan to study law, moved closer to the dock to get a better look at the trio while cameras flashed, and Facebook and Twitter statuses were updated to reflect the conviction.

Defence advocates Vijay Sivakumoor and Theuns Botha will argue in mitigation of sentence on Monday.

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