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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Wife of murdered Northern Cape hotel owner in court

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By Sandi Kwon Hoo 8h ago

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The wife of the late hotel owner Pofadder, who was found murdered in her swimming pool in October last year, will file a bail application in Pofadder Magistrates’ Court on April 7.

The deceased, Leon Brits, 41, suffered multiple stab wounds, while valuables such as guns, a cell phone, Krugerrand coins, polished diamonds and cash were removed from the scene at the time of the incident.

Police spokesman Captain Sergio Kock said the accused Suretha Brits, 30, appeared briefly in Pofadder Magistrates’ Court yesterday on charges of murder, aggravated theft and perjury.

“The case is postponed until April 7 for a formal request for bail. The accused will remain in detention. The investigation is continuing, ”Kock said.

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Brits was arrested at her home in Kakamas on Monday morning.

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His arrest came after one of the three men arrested in connection with the murder and theft, Jacques van Vuuren, 37, reached a plea deal.

Van Vuuren was sentenced by the North Cape High Court on March 25 to an effective 20-year prison sentence for murder, robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.

In his plea agreement, Van Vuuren said Suretha Brits was prepared to pay Rand 400,000 for the execution of the murder, where the murder scene was “staged” as if a robbery had taken place.

He claimed that she had indicated that she would pay R200,000 upfront and the balance after the murder.

Van Vuuren pleaded guilty to stealing a .223 rifle, Glock pistol, Star pistol and money and confessed that he and his co-perpetrators inflicted grievous bodily harm on the deceased using dangerous weapons.

The plea agreement stated that “it was not easy to assassinate” the deceased, as Leon Brits retaliated in the attack, where he was assaulted with a baseball bat, strangled with a dog chain and thrown into the pool.

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Van Vuuren said Suretha Brits, whom he considered a family friend, contacted him in September 2020 to do ‘dirty work’ for her, claiming that her husband physically assaulted her and made a commitment in an extramarital affair.

He said she informed him that she could not divorce her husband because he threatened to “take everything away from her”, including her children.

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Van Vuuren agreed to help him, as he felt his life was in danger, but was not ready to commit the murder.

He said he contacted a colleague who worked with him at a mine in Kathu, who later identified a person who was ready to commit the murder.

Van Vuuren said he was not physically present when the deceased was killed and he expressed remorse for his actions.

The murder was committed at the couple’s home in Pofadder while Suretha Brits and her children stayed in Kakamas for the week.

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Van Vuuren added that the British paid an initial amount of R75,000 and offered his alliance worth R125,000.

He indicated that the person willing to commit the murder would only accept cash, after which another R125,000 was paid by Suretha Brits, Van Vuuren said.

He said that after the murder, the deceased’s cell phone was destroyed. The cell phones that the killers used to communicate with the British, along with a baseball bat, knife, club and coveralls worn during the commission of the offense, were burned in Keimoes.

Van Vuuren said the money was then split between the perpetrators.

The other two co-defendants in the case, Amantle Bareki, 24, and Enrich Williams, 34, will reappear in Pofadder Magistrates’ Court on May 17 for murder, aggravated theft and possession of an illegal firearm. .

The state was represented by lead lawyer Hannes Cloete, while lawyer Janette Henzen-du Toit appeared on behalf of Van Vuuren.


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