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'School ninja' in court today

By unknown | Apr 14, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Morné Harmse, also known as the School Ninja, will appear at the Johannesburg high court today.

Harmse, 18, is expected to hear of his trial date on a charge of murder and three of attempted murder.

On the morning of August 18 last year, Harmse, a matric pupil at Nic Diederichs Technical High School in Krugersdorp, allegedly killed a fellow schoolmate by slashing his throat with a sword. He also injured two school gardeners who tried to stop him.

Pupils who witnessed the gruesome act said they were preparing to gather for assembly when Harmse, wearing a handmade mask and black paint smeared over his face, ran towards them wielding a sword.

As they all ran for cover, Jacques Pretorius, 16, could not escape. The sword landed on his neck and he died at the scene. Two school employees Sam Manamela, 43, and Joseph Kodisang, 26, were also injured when they tried to stop the "crazed student". A Grade 11 pupil, Stephan Bouwer, 18, was seriously injured but survived the attack.

Harmse was described as obsessed with a heavy metal rock band Slipknot, which many believe was his motivation in carrying out the attack. The mask he wore during the killing, which he had made three weeks earlier, was similar to that of Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor. He also wore gloves and had swords hanging from his waist.

Harmse had allegedly been planning to carry out a massacre with his friends, who later said they thought it was a joke and were shocked when he carried it out.

One of his friends and classmate Max Brechlin, 18, was also arrested in connection with the incident but charges against him were dropped a day later.

Friends described Harmse as a sweet person while those who weren't close to him thought he was "weird and nerdy".

He was sent for mental examination after a court appearance and was pronounced fit to stand trial by four psychiatrists.


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