Krugersdorp murders: ‘My friend‚ my lover and wife is gone - It's hell'‚ says widower of Hanle Lategan
Widower Andre Lategan wept as he told the South Gauteng High Court how his wife was killed three months after they had remarried.
Lategan and his wife Hanle had been married for 33 years before divorcing and remarrying again. She was found dead in May 2016.
Eleven people were murdered over a four-year period on the West Rand. The accused are Cecilia Steyn‚ 37‚ Zac Valentine‚ 33‚ and Marcel Steyn‚ 20. They have pleaded not guilty to 32 counts‚ including murder‚ robbery with aggravating circumstances and fraud.
Marcel’s mother - former high school teacher Marinda Steyn‚ a friend of Cecelia’s - was sentenced to 11 life terms for the Krugersdorp murder spree after entering into a plea agreement. Marinda’s son‚ Le Roux Steyn‚ is serving an effective 25-year prison term and has testified against the three remaining accused in the dock.
On Wednesday‚ Lategan said his wife disappeared after she had told him that she had a number of appointments on the day. She had worked as an estate agent for Remax.
"I received a SMS with a withdrawal from my bank account of R3‚000 being withdrawn. I phoned her [his wife] immediately. Her phone rang. I called her again and it went to voicemail."
Lategan said he also received three other messages notifying him that there were insufficient funds in his account.
"I realised there was something wrong."
He said he got a call from his wife's colleague asking where she was because she had not pitched for her appointments.
His wife's car was found in the evening but her body was discovered somewhere else the next day‚ Lategan said.
He told the court that he has been on anti-depressants since his wife's death.
"My friend‚ my lover and wife is gone. I wake up every day and ask myself ‘is this the way life is‚ going to be?’ It's hell‚" Lategan said‚ crying uncontrollably.
The court adjourned to allow him to compose himself.
Lorna McGregor‚ whose brother Glen‚ 57‚ was found dead at his smallholding in Randfontein‚ told the court she was waiting for the case to be finalised so she could travel to Scotland to hold a memorial for him.
Glen was an accountant. He and Lorna came to South Africa when they were still young. The state believes McGregor was forced to transfer money into Marinda Steyn’s account before he was shot in the stomach.
Lee Lerm‚ a trauma counsellor who had gone to Valentine's home after his wife Mikeila was found dead in their house‚ testified that he had showed no emotion.
Valentine's behaviour was not what she expected: "I found the accused with his parents. They said they were fine and did not need my assistance."
She said Valentine was only concerned about cats and wanted to know when the police would be done in the house‚ as they were busy combing the scene.
The trial continues.