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25 May 2011 at 18:47 - Posted by Anonymous

Was Free State farmer tortured to death?


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Murdered Lindley farmer Adriaan Potgieter may have been tortured to death, the Bloemfontein High Court heard on Wednesday.

The court was sitting on the first day of the trial of six men accused of murdering the Potgieter family on the farm Tweefontein near Lindley on December 1, 2010.

Free State pathologist Dr Robert Book was the first State witness to testify and told the court that his autopsy on Potgieter revealed 151 stab and laceration wounds.

“The deceased was tortured to death,” said Book, when asked by State prosecutor Jannie Botha on his first impressions of the body and number of injuries.

The injuries were caused by objects such as a garden fork, panga, shovel or sharp knife while other injuries could have been caused by a brick or stone, said Book.

He testified that there were 51 head and face wounds and 84

lacerations on the body of which only 14 had the potential to be fatal.

The court heard that Potgieter either died from loss of blood or from a swollen brain.

Book testified it probably took Potgieter “many minutes” after the attack to die.

The State handed in a short panga, used on farms for gardening, as evidence.The report on Potgieter and photos taken during the autopsies on the family were also handed in.

Earlier, all six men, aged between 18 and 33, pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

They face three murder counts, one of robbery with aggravating circumstances and charges relating to the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

One accused, Diphapang Motaung, 18, who was a minor during the incident entered a plea explanation.

The State alleges that the men assaulted and killed Potgieter, 40, his wife Wilna, 36, and their two-year-old daughter Wilmien on the day of the incident. Various items such as cash were stolen from the farm house.

The murders, especially the girl's, have led to demands from some quarters for the government to declare farm attacks a priority crime.

The case continues. -

Sapa

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