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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A case I'm watching in South Africa. (Dynamics of abuse are global)

A policewoman whose husband allegedly killed her two children and step-child says she does not hate him... [Police Superintendent Marius] Van der Westhuizen tearfully pleaded guilty on all three counts, claiming he suffered from post- traumatic stress and diminished culpability....

Mother tells court how husband shot kids
Cape Times
By Karen Breytenbach karen.breytenbach@inl.co.za
October 07, 2008
...Captain Charlotte van der Westhuizen, a personnel manager at Kuils River police station, was testifying in the Cape High Court about how her husband, Senior Superintendent Marius van der Westhuizen, former commissioner of the Claremont police station, shot their three children in their beds with his service pistol. Captain Van der Westhuizen sobbed as she said her job was to protect people, but on the night of July 28, 2006 she was unable to protect her children from their father in their Brackenfell home. "I always think I should have stepped in. I am a police officer, after all. But I couldn't move. I thought he was going to shoot us all. I prayed my parents wouldn't discover the bodies"... Van der Westhuizen tearfully pleaded guilty on all three counts, claiming he suffered from post- traumatic stress and diminished culpability... "That man murdered my children, unlawfully and intentionally. He looked me in the eyes as he did it. I pleaded but he wouldn't stop... After he shot them, he said to me: 'You see, your children are dead now.' He said I didn't have to worry, he would not shoot me because he loved me too much"... Trembling but resolute, Captain van der Westhuizen recounted years of emotional abuse since their marriage in 1998... He had become "very controlling and possessive" by the end of 2005 and confiscated her personal bank cards, gave her pocket money, sometimes hid the car keys and laptop battery, and locked her out of the house. "I'm a grown woman with a BComm, in a senior position at work. It was humiliating," she said, weeping... [Full article here]

EXCERPTS FROM EARLIER ARTICLES:

Cop kills his 3 kids
29/07/2006 13:58 - (SA)
Want to know more?
Answerit can help.
Johannesburg - A 44-year-old Brackenfell policeman shot and killed his three children before turning the gun on himself in his house... "The man killed the children and seriously wounded himself in the face last night at 22:00," said Captain Randall Stoffels. The children - a 16-year-old girl, her six-year-old brother and one-year-old sister -- were killed in their father's bedroom... [Full article here]

Wife forgives child-killing cop
Lucille Botha, Die Burger
31/07/2006
Cape Town - A policewoman whose husband allegedly killed her two children and step-child says she does not hate him. Captain Charlotte van der Westhuizen, 39, told Dominee Rudi van Vuuren of the Dutch Reformed church at Heidekoppie she did not have negative feelings towards her husband... ''She thinks it would be good for him if he could attend the funeral. Charlotte realises things are wrong, but she knows Marius also needs closure,'' Van Vuuren said on Monday. [Full article here]

'Killer cop' released on bail
September 13 2006
A senior police officer who attempted suicide after allegedly shooting dead his children was granted R5 000 bail in the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court in Cape Town on Wednesday. Superintendent Marius van der Westhuizen, 44, was granted bail because the prison authorities were unable to give him special food and medical attention... The court heard that Van der Westhuizen and his wife, Charlotte, a captain, were based at the Kuils River police station. The wife had been heavily engaged in police community outreach programmes, which demanded too much of her private time, which had upset Van der Westhuizen. On the night of July 28, he had given his wife an ultimatum in which she had to choose between him and the children, and her job. This led to a violent argument, and in the heat of it, Van der Westhuizen allegedly shot dead his three children, with each shot saying to his wife: "It was your choice"... The court also had to consider the assumption that Van der Westhuizen was innocent until proven guilty, and to refuse him bail would be to punish him without trial... [Full article here]

Murdered kids' mom tells of pain
An emotional Charlotte van der Westhuizen tells how she lost her three children
Leanne Stander, Die Burger
20/12/2006
Cape Town - "I watched my children being shot to death in front of me. I saw the blood as the bullets hit their heads. "Now I'm trying to live for them, but then you encounter a man at the shopping centre - the man who (allegedly) killed your children... He is still out there. He can still see me. It feels as if he is still intimidating me. I'm questioning the judicial system"... [Full article here]

6 comments:

  1. In 2003 I applied for a domestic violence interdict through the Claremont police station domestic violence assistance unit. The superintendent who spoke to me was Marius van der Westhuizen. This psychopath was advising victims while abusing his own wife. My heart goes out to Charlotte van der Westhuizen. The abuse continues in court with her abuser crying and 'glaring'. She is not free yet. The world needs to wake up to the fact that the most powerful weapon an abuser has is the woman's children. Abusing them, taking custody (90% of men going for custody are abusive)or murdering them have only ONE purpose - control and punishment of the woman. Marius van der Westhuizen is pleading 'depression' and the judge has deemed that he acted with 'diminished responsibilty' because of this. We all need to understand that psychopaths do not feel - they only imitate - depression, love, guilt and other emotions.

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  2. I track U.S. incidents here but I have many many cases in a folder labeled "International." I think that's too much, trying to cover the whole earth - and so I don't post them here but this time I'm so glad I did because I really appreciate what you've shared and value your contribution to what the problem is. The "problem" looks the same to me wherever it is. The solutions and possible responses to the problems are what differs most between countries.

    My South Africa subfolder is the fattest. There have been sad and frequent atrocities coming from your part of the world.

    Charlotte reminded me SO MUCH of our Tacoma Police Chief's wife Crystal Judson Brame. The micro- managing of Charlotte's life, her time, her whereabouts, her ongoing fears, her gentleness even in the midst of terror.

    Our children are our greatest vulnerability when it comes to safety. In Charlotte's case her monster lived in the same home, but even if Charlotte were to have LEFT, any visit the children had with their father would have left the threat of death in the air. Her staying in this case is not what caused her children's deaths. I know you know that, but I need to say it. Her monster would have destroyed her by killing the children and/or her no matter what she did if there was no place to hide.

    Where can a cop's wife hide? It's so hard.

    And my heart just breaks for Charlotte, in what she has lived, what she has witnessed, what she has lost, and now what she additionally must endure.

    There is an article that said her monster has post traumatic stress disorder.

    If anyone has it,
    Charlotte does.

    Charlotte if you see this comment, and are wondering when the acute pain will subside - it will be a long long time, it will always torment in varying degrees, and nothing will ever be the same again.

    After our chief's wife Crystal was murdered, her father told me that he had to come up swinging or he would have gone insane. It took him time to come up, and he is still weeping five years after, but his anger and sorrow made many changes for others in laws and policies.

    There's no expectations on you though Charlotte, only love, compassion, and a desire for you to get through this current horror so that you can move to the next - room to grieve without fear.

    If he is not convicted come live here.

    You are in my prayers.
    You are in my prayers.
    You are in my prayers.
    You are in my prayers.

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  3. Mother's heart still bleeding
    Cape Argus
    7 October 2008, 15:58
    [Excerpts] Charlotte van der Westhuizen, mother of two young children who were shot dead allegedly by her husband, told the Cape High Court on Tuesday she still could not understand why they were killed.
    "I still cannot understand or forgive what happened - that my own husband wanted to shoot dead his own children... The three children did not commit suicide, and they were not killed in a road smash or a car hijacking. They only lay in bed asleep in the safety of their own home, and were then shot dead by their own father... He shot the children to punish me in the mistaken belief that I had chosen my work as a police captain in preference to him"... In her testimony, she tearfully referred to her daughter, Antoinette, by her nickname, "Netsie Betsie". She nicknamed her son Marius, "Boetie", and referred to van der Westhuizen's daughter, Bianca, as "Boesman" or "Sussie"
    http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=3571&fArticleId=nw20081007153920643C744655

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  4. This case continues...Marius van der Westhizen changed attorneys. His new attorney is now re-grilling Charlotte van der Westhuizen on the witness stand. Via his proxy, Marius continues to belittle and degrade his wife. The case now focuses on her alleged 'wrongs' rather than the murderer's behaviour. This is a travesty of justice. Have a look at the updates on 'News24'. I too pray for this poor abused woman.

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  5. Thank you for letting me know.

    [SA] Mourning Police Cpt. Charlotte van der Westhuizen defends herself from court attacks
    http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/2008/11/sa-mourning-police-cpt-charlotte-van.html

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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