Family affair: his daughter, then his wife. Now his killer?

They all had 'an idyllic family relationship'

29 July 2018 - 00:02
Cathy and Chris, her adoptive father and dead husband.
Image: Facebook Cathy and Chris, her adoptive father and dead husband.

A tangled web of murder, divorce and perjury, overshadowed by unanswered questions. This is what awaits prosecutors on Monday in the High Court in Pretoria where a woman who married the man who adopted her as a toddler is accused of his murder.

Cathy van Oudtshoorn, 31, allegedly fatally shot her father/husband Chris van Oudtshoorn, a 57-year-old electrical engineer from Brakpan, in April 2016 while he was watching TV.

Deepening the intrigue is Chris's ex-wife Jorina van Niekerk, 55, who has been convicted and jailed as an accessory to the murder. She pleaded guilty to defeating the ends of justice.

Van Niekerk, who is serving a five-year sentence, is believed to have been roped in to the murder by Cathy.

Cathy was due to undergo evaluation at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, said a family member, who asked to remain anonymous.

The court has heard that Cathy may plead temporary insanity.

Adopted by Chris and Jorina as a toddler, Cathy was by all accounts a happy child, the family member said. The couple had two biological daughters, Anita and Maryna, after the adoption.

In 2008, three years after Chris and Jorina were divorced, Chris married Cathy.

The relative clearly recalled Monday, April 11 2016, the day Chris was murdered.

"One of Chris's brothers collapsed after arriving at the murder scene," the family member said.

"His father passed away shortly after and his mother, who has always been the anchor of the family, has never been the same.

"Yes, it is strange for anyone to understand their marriage because she grew up as his daughter.

Jorina, centre, with her biological daughters Anita, left,  and Maryna.
Image: Facebook Jorina, centre, with her biological daughters Anita, left, and Maryna.

"Jorina was supportive of the marriage, although we as a family were not OK with it. Apart from that, it was an idyllic family relationship.

"She [Cathy] was a very happy child, and wife. The three girls had a great childhood. When Chris was murdered, we were gobsmacked. We could not believe it. He would have given his life for her," the family member said.

"Chris was such a good man, he supported Cathy and Jorina. They had everything - cars, houses, whatever they needed. They lived together with his biological daughters for a long time."

Jorina remarried in 2014, in the same house she used to share with Chris.

The unusual but close-knit family spent time together at least once a week, the family member said.

"Jorina and Cathy were very close all that time. They still had a mother-daughter relationship. And every year we would have huge Christmas and New Year celebrations. There were no signs of any problems between them and I knew [Chris] was in love with Cathy, and well, now we believe Cathy shot him."

One of the biological daughters of Chris and Jorina, Anita Brits, reportedly said the family wanted nothing to do with Cathy because she had taken "both parents away" from her.

Following the bail hearing, Brits told Huisgenoot magazine: "My family is completely against it. I didn't want Cathy to walk free. I believe my mom is innocent."

In a newspaper interview in 2016, a source close to the family even hinted that Chris's murder could have been linked to his will that was believed to have been changed three weeks before his death.

The family member said: "The sisters have their lives, which they have to run. They are missing their father, and their mother is in prison.

"They loved Cathy as a sister and now they don't want to hear her name."

He said the extended family were incensed about Jorina's role in the murder, but the girls wanted to protect their mother.

It seems they have forgiven her.

"They have forgiven their mother and she is about to be released. [But] we were not happy with the light sentence she got and the fact that she might be released on parole any day now," he said.

Cathy's lawyer, Thembi Bokako of Legal Aid, said: "It has been stressful for her but she's coping under the circumstances. She has a new baby, who was born in June."