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Murder accused was acting strangely – cop

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“I do not know why he was shivering because it was not cold. I told him to sit down. There were wet clothes hanging inside the shanty with suspected blood splatters”

MURDER accused Michael Pieterson, 35, was “shivering and acting strangely”, according to the investigating officer, when clothes with possible blood stains were retrieved from his shanty on the same day that the charred bodies of his ex-girlfriend and their 11-month-old son were discovered hidden in the veld in Windsorton.

The floor of the shanty was wet and muddy when the police searched his home in Hebron Park, while an All Star sneaker, with a similar shoe track that was found near the crime scene, was also discovered on the roof.

The defence is arguing against the admissibility of the evidence that was seized.

The bodies of Kantse Martha Mokgele and the couple’s baby, Neo Elias Mokgele, were discovered by a pedestrian while he was crossing the foot bridge between Windsorton and Holpan on May 12, 2019.

While testifying in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday, the investigating officer, Constable Olivier from the Visible Policing unit, said that Pieterson “was shivering and started acting strangely” when his shanty was searched.

“I do not know why he was shivering because it was not cold. I told him to sit down. There were wet clothes hanging inside the shanty with suspected blood splatters,” Olivier told the court.

He added that Pieterson had arrived at the home of the deceased’s aunt, Eva Marais, on May 12 to report that his ex-girlfriend and child were missing. “This is while the police were attending to the first missing persons complaint of a mother and a baby, which was reported by Marais.”

He added that Pieterson had also reported a missing persons case at the local police station.

“His direct words to me were, ‘chief, chief I heard that there was a woman and child found in the veld who were murdered’.”

Olivier said that Captain John Seeley, from the SAPS Search and Rescue unit, had requested him to transport Pieterson to obtain more information from him along the R374 road. “At that stage he was a complainant.”

Olivier stated that Pieterson gave his consent for the police to search his shanty, “for all possible leads”.

SAPS social crime co-ordinator Constable Kagisho Seele said that Pieterson had explained that he had “sprinkled the floor of his shack with water” when questioned about his wet floor.

“He explained that there was dust on the floor that was choking him. The problem was that the water in the shanty was muddy.”

Constable Tebogo Malgas from the SAPS Local Criminal Records Centre in Hartswater testified that Captain Seeley discovered a footprint near Pieterson’s shanty that was similar to the footprint at the crime scene.

Pieterson’s legal representative, Heinrich Steynberg, stated that his client had never given the police permission to search his shanty or break down his door.

He said that Pieterson claimed that he was assaulted, intimidated and threatened by police officers.

“The accused was slapped and was told to tell the truth. Captain Seeley told him that he would kill him and asked him where the All Star sneaker was. He told him that the sneaker was on the roof of his shanty and that he owned two pairs of All Stars.”

Steynberg believed that his client was unfairly treated as a suspect, where he was made to sit between two police officers, and a search and seizure operation was conducted at his home even before his arrest.

The police officers who testified stated that Pieterson was never assaulted in their presence, intimidated or threatened and indicated that he was free of any visible injuries.

The case continues today before acting Judge Willem Coetzee.