The evidence against Boom called for an explanation from his side but he had decided not to testify
A TWENTY-year-old Campbell man, Nico Boom, has been found guilty in the Northern Cape High Court of the murder and rape of Monica Bloukop.
Bloukop was brutally killed on February 9 2013 and her naked body was found on February 11 2013 in nearby bushes.
The charges against Boom include assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, rape and murder as well as three charges of aiding three other persons – Godfrey Titus, Alie Williams and Stanley Molorolng – in raping Bloukop while he held her down.
Charges against Titus, Williams and Morolong were withdrawn.
Although there was no DNA evidence linking Boom to the incident, the court heard during the trial that there was a statement Boom had made during his arrest five years ago, in which he confessed.
In the statement, which was tendered as evidence in court, Boom gave a grisly account of events on the day of the incident.
“On the night of February 9 2013, I am not sure what time it was, Godfrey came to me and said he had a ‘score’ for us. I asked him who the score was and he said Monica. We went to Monica’s house. Along the way we met Alie and Stanley, and Godfrey told them to come along. We found Monica sitting at her front door, singing. She seemed to be under the influence. Godfrey pulled her and she told him to leave her alone. The four of us then carried her by her hands and feet to a deserted house behind her house.
“We took her to one of the rooms and took off her clothes. Godfrey took a cloth and put it in her mouth when she tried to scream. We then tied her hands to a chair. We made a fire with a sponge and her clothes and burnt her with that. We untied her and laid her down on a piece of mat. Godfrey then pulled his pants down and raped her. Alie was next and he raped her while I held her down. Stanley then also raped her while I still assisted in holding her down.
“I let the deceased lie on her stomach and I raped her anally. After I was done, I got up and we carried the deceased out of the house. Godfrey told me to slit her throat. I took a knife out my pocket and did so. The blood splattered on the yellow T-shirt I was wearing.
“We then carried the deceased down the street to a veld. Godfrey repeatedly hit her head against a tree trunk. We dumped her body in some thorn bushes and each one of us went our different ways. I went to sleep at a friend’s house.
“On Sunday I hid the T-shirt I was wearing under a steel drum. My grandmother enquired about the T-shirt but I did not answer her. On Monday, on my way to school, I showed two of my school friends where the deceased was. They were scared and we ran off. We again later went to see if the body was still there,” Boom’s statement read.
The defence argued that because Boom was only 15 years old at the time that he made the statement, he might have been under the impression that he was a witness to the incident and not a suspect.
The defence also argued that Boom’s rights were not thoroughly explained to him and that he might have been unaware that he could have a legal representative present at the time.
This resulted in a trial within a trial.
Acting Judge Steven Groenewaldt, during his judgment, said that although Boom was a minor at the time when he gave the statement, there was evidence during trial that he already, at that stage, knew and understood he was a suspect in the matter.
“The accused was accompanied by his 26-year-old niece who acted as a guardian for him when he gave the statement. Captain Magugu, who took the statement from the accused, said he explained that the accused had the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. Magugu said he also explained that he told the accused he was under no duress to make the statement and could have a lawyer present if he so required. Magugu said the accused said he only needed a lawyer once he went to court,” said Groenewaldt.
“The niece of the accused also testified that she was present at the time the rights of the accused were explained to him. The police officer who arrested Boom also testified that he explained him his rights. According to the officer, the accused said he wanted to come clean about the incident. He also said that he had a burn wound to the leg and was taken for medical treatment.”
Groenewaldt said that the statement Boom had made and forensic evidence which came out in court corroborated each other.
“The doctor who conducted the post-mortem on the deceased said the body had multiple abrasions which was an indication of an assault prior and after death or even the moving of the body. There was a bite mark to the left arm of the deceased and also tears to her anus and private parts as well as bruises to her private parts. There were also four incisions to her neck. The doctor said the cause of death was multiple incisions to the neck which were caused by a sharp object. The injuries to the neck of the deceased were consistent with the version given by accused in his statement.
“The doctor also added that the deceased suffered blunt force trauma, which was also in corroboration with the statement where the accused said the head of the deceased was hit against the tree. Blood splatters of the deceased were also found on the tree.”
Groenewaldt said that although the deceased was unable to talk, her blood was screaming from the ground for the accused to be apprehended.
“The forensic evidence were the missing pieces in the statement. The blood trail of the deceased speaks volumes. In the statement, the accused conveys the movement of the deceased. The sequence of events was that the deceased was taken from the abandoned house to the scene where her body was found. During this movement a blood trail was left. The clothes of the deceased, which were used as weapon against her, were also found on the scene. The police also found that the trail led from a pathway where the body of the deceased was found. The version that the head of the deceased was hit against the tree was also corroborated by the statement and blood against the tree. The cause of death is also supported by the confession of the accused that he had slit the throat of the deceased.”
Groenewaldt said that the evidence against Boom called for an explanation from his side but he had decided not to testify.
“The court has nothing to contradict the case of the State. The accused offered no explanation for the burn wound he had on his leg, the blood trail of the deceased and the burnt clothing found at the scene as stated in his statement. The burn wound to his leg places him at the scene of the crime yet he does not render any explanation.”
Groenewaldt said he was mindful of Boom’s right to remain silent but the totality of the evidence rendered an explanation.
“In his right to remain silent, the accused drew criticism to himself. The court only had the evidence of the State before it. In the weight of the evidence, the State called for an explanation from the accused.”
He stated that though Boom wanted to paint himself as a witness to the event, he was, however, an active participant.
“The accused violated the rights of the deceased. The deceased was disposed of like a pile of rubble. The manner in which the injuries were inflicted on the deceased show that the accused had the intention to inflict serious injuries to the deceased. The accused aided others to violate the deceased without her consent. Not once did the accused contest the events. When he was told to slit the throat of the deceased, he conveniently had a weapon on him to do so. The manner in which the deceased died showed that the accused had direct intent to kill her,” Groenewaldt concluded.