blood-curdling shouts from frenzied killer
Blood-curdling shouts from the frenzied teenage killer as he shot dead four people, including a three-month-old baby, were repeated in the Mmabatho high court yesterday.
"Kom uit julle kaffers.Ek will julle doodmaak, julle swartgate. ("Come out, you kaffirs. I want to kill you, you black a...holes.")
Prosecutor Sello Maema said that during the state's investigations into the Skierlik massacre, the victims vividly remembered the racist remarks made by Johan Nel, 18, while he was shooting.
Maema also questioned expert opinion presented to court that Nel would benefit from constructive therapy in prison.
Irma Labuschagne, a forensic criminologist, was the first witness to be called by defence attorney Johann Engelbrecht in mitigation of sentence after Nel pleaded guilty to all 17 charges - four of murder, 11 of attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
Nel allegedly went on a shooting spree in the Skierlik informal settlement near Swartruggens, North West, on January 14.
Yesterday it emerged that a week before the teenager went on the "racially motivated" killing spree, his girlfriend had ditched him because she found him "boring and uninteresting", according to a letter his parents and brother wrote to Labuschagne.
Labuschagne said that in his written replies to questions during consultations Nel never mentioned any relationships with members of the opposite sex.
Labuschagne said: "Nel believed there was a war out there and the enemy should and could be controlled."
She told Judge Ronald Hendricks and two assessors, Sello Mookoletsi and Cecil Zwiegelaar, that Nel's punishment should be tempered with mercy.
She said Nel's actions stemmed from deep-seated emotional factors that had remained unresolved over time.
"I believe that he can be rehabilitated but that will take years," Labuschagne said.
In her report Labuschagne also paints a picture of a younger Nel who grew up alone and away from children his age.
His mother Corrie, a teacher, gave him private tuition from grade 4 until grade 11.
In the report Nel is described as an ardent reader of gun magazines and a member of the Swartruggens Shooting Range Club.
The report says Nel could not remember going on a shooting spree at the informal settlement. In an 18-page psychological report by Labuschangne, Nel admitted "it was wrong to kill".
Those killed were Enoch Tshepo Motshelanoka, 10, Kegitlho Elizabeth Moiphitlhi, three months, her mother Anna, 31, and Sivuyile Banani, 35.