local news

HE HAD known them since he was a baby — but didn’t think twice about killing them.

The Kimberley High Court yesterday found a 17-year-old boy guilty of murdering Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and their 14year-old daughter, Marthella, on their farm in the Northern Cape town of Griekwastad.

The youth, who was 15 at the time of the murders and cannot be identified because he is a minor, was also found guilty of raping Marthella and of defeating the ends of justice by lying to the police. He will be sentenced in May.

The teenager showed no emotion when Judge Frans Kgomo handed down his judgment.

“The minor’s motive for the killing was to silence the girl from reporting [the rape] and to eliminate [the parents] for fear of [them] bearing witness against him,” Kgomo said.

The three were shot dead at close range on the evening of April 6 2012, Good Friday, with a rifle and a revolver belonging to the family.

Pathology reports showed that Marthella was raped more than once 24 hours before her death. She had several cuts and bruises and her eyes were swollen shut.

Her defensive wounds showed that she had fought back “like a tigress”.

The teenager claimed that he was in the barn when intruders murdered the Steenkamps.

Kgomo dismissed this as “farfetched” because the family’s dogs did not bark, there was no forced entry and nothing was stolen other than a knife.

The youth was refused bail.

His guardian said they did not know “what will happen”.

The youth’s lawyer, Riaan Bode, said that the boy had an automatic right of appeal but he could not comment “on that now”.