'Sunday Rapist' is found guilty

Florida schoolgirl Louise de Waal (17) was kidnapped at gunpoint while walking to school with a friend. Lazanne Farmer (14) from Pretoria, died after jumping out of a bakkie in a bid to escape from him

The State has proved beyond reasonable doubt that “Sunday rapist” Johannes Jacobus Steyn murdered and kidnapped teenager Louise de Waal, Judge Sita Kolbe has ruled.

In handing down judgment in the High Court sitting in Alberton, Kolbe said: “The State proved beyond reasonable doubt he kidnapped and murdered her”.

However, Steyn was acquitted on a charge of raping De Waal.

Judge Kolbe said Steyn was a “self-confessed liar” who admitted to lying to his wife and his boss.

The judge said it was improbable that a mechanic at his workplace had disabled the tracking system in his bakkie, which helped him because his vehicle could then not be tracked. She also said it was unlikely that an unknown person placed De Waal’s bag in the bin in Steyn’s yard. He was in the vicinity of where the murder took place. His two cellphones placed him there via cellphone towers tracking activity on his phone.

As a result, the only inference that could be made was, “that it was the accused who abducted Louise and subsequently killed her”.

'She died trying to flee from kidnapper'

The judge also convicted Steyn of culpable homicide for the death of teenager Lazanne Farmer.

Farmer, aged 14, from Pretoria, was kidnapped in September 2010 by a man in a bakkie. She died after jumping out of the bakkie in a bid to escape.

“There was testimony that no medical assistance could have saved her,” said Judge Kolbe.

Farmer’s sister started crying in court when the judgment was handed down.

Background to Louise's murder:

According to news reports at the time, a bakkie pulled up alongside De Waal and her friend walking on the corner of Rina and Herman streets in White Ridge, Florida, around 7am on a Wednesday morning.

“A man got out and ordered the teenager into the vehicle. When the girl refused, he pointed a firearm at her until she complied,” police said.

The other girl, Natasha Gordon, ran away and the bakkie sped off with her friend.

Her burnt body was later found on a farm in Magaliesberg.

Previous reports said the suspect in De Waal's murder had a previous conviction for sexual assault. He was arrested in 2007, convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. The sentence was suspended for three years. He spent time doing community service.

The name, “Sunday Rapist”, came from police reports last year that cautioned people to be on the look-out for an attacker. This is what the public were told: "The man usually goes out to prowl on Sunday between 10am and 1pm in certain suburbs in Gauteng and the North West, and looks for girls between the ages of 10 and 17. He then drives 20 or 30km away and rapes the girls. He often takes mementos from them like head-bands or panties".

Steyn denied that he was the Sunday Rapist.

The charges:

Steyn was accused of murdering school girls Louise de Waal and Lazanne Farmer. He was also charged on 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.

The 11 girls Steyn allegedly attacked between 2008 and 2011 were aged between 11 and 18.

Judgment continues.