Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Woman tells of horror night

19/03/2008 08:33 - (SA)

Magdel Fourie, Beeld

Johannesburg - Each time the robber threw boiling water on the body of her friend lying next to her, she felt the scalding water splash onto her own skin.

This is how Sanet Janse van Rensburg, 29, remembered the terrifying night that she and Sandy Staats, 68, were attacked in the latter's home, who was then tortured, including with boiling water, for hours.

With 60% burns after the attack, Staats died ten days later due to organ failure.

On Tuesday, less than a year later, the petite Janse van Rensburg testified against Sibusiso Phakhati, 34, who was on trial for the murder in the Johannesburg High Court.

Wanted guns, money

Although he denied being guilty, his co-accused, Isaac Mako, 45, admitted being guilty of the murder earlier this year and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Janse van Rensburg testified with great emotion how she had arrived at Staats's house early in the evening on April 20.

After a relaxed talk in the lounge, they went to the bathroom where she applied make up (she had been on her way to pick up a friend) and Staats got ready for bed.

Shortly thereafter three men, one of whom was armed with a knife, came into the bathroom and forced them to the ground.

"To try to keep us quiet our mouths were covered and we were strangled. I struggled to breathe."

Phakati then peppered Staats with questions over who else was in the house, where their money was, and where their guns were. They denied having anything of the sort.

Thereafter both women were tied up with electrical cords and cloth was tied over their noses and mouths.

The women were then taken to Staats's bedroom where they lay on the floor again and the men's aggression "escalated", Janse van Rensburg testified.

Although she had not been able to see everything, she remembered how Sandy had screamed from the pain.

"They burned her with cigarettes and bent her arms and legs in unnatural positions until she screamed."

Finally Phakati fetched a kettle from the kitchen, plugged it in and "boiled it just a few metres away from me".

When the water had boiled, he unplugged the kettle and poured the water over Staats, an emotional Janse van Rensburg told.

"It was so close to me that I could feel the boiling water splashing onto my skin."

Staats just screamed and screamed.

Although Mako had said to Janse van Rensburg that he did not feel comfortable with this torture he did nothing to stop it.

"He (Phakati) did it two or three times - boiled the water, unplugged the kettle, plugged it in again and boiled the water again," she remembered.

Sometime later she heard a shot and the police stormed into the room.

"By this time Sandy (Staats) was shaking terribly. Her hands were full of blisters - everything was just pink. Her whole body, except her face, was burned."

Staats was rushed to the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital immediately.

Except for the severe emotional trauma, Janse van Rensburg was unharmed.

The hearing was continuing.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2290764,00.html

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