A former schoolfriend of teenager Anika Smit, who was gruesomely murdered in her Pretoria North home six years ago, on Monday appeared briefly in the Pretoria North Magistrates’ Court in connection with her murder after handing himself over to the police on Saturday.
She had been sexually violated, had stab wounds and her hands had been chopped off. Her hands were never recovered.
Andreas Johannes (Andre) Van Wyk, 24, will face charges of murder, rape and mutilating a body. The 17-year-old schoolgirl’s father Johan Smit discovered her naked body in their home in Theresa Park when he came home on March 10, 2010.
She had been sexually violated, had stab wounds and her hands had been chopped off. Her hands were never recovered. The Grade 11 pupil at the Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz in Pretoria North was at home with an ear infection on that day after being booked off from school by her doctor.
Pretoria North Magistrate Pierre Wessels postponed Van Wyk’s case to Monday next week for further investigation and a possible formal bail application.
Van Wyk, neatly dressed in a light-coloured suit, told the court he wanted legal aid after the magistrate warned him he was facing a life sentence.
The magistrate postponed a formal inquest into the teenager’s death indefinitely, pending the outcome of Van Wyk’s criminal proceedings. He said it would serve no purpose to continue with the inquest at this stage in light of the arrest of someone in connection with the murder.
Wessels stressed that the purpose of the inquest had been to find the truth. He said a lot of emotion had been involved and a lot of people, such as Van Wyk’s school friend Damian Treeby, Smit’s former boyfriend Nico Venter as well as her parents had seen terrible things and it had been necessary to open an inquest.
He thanked the media for the role they played, saying their role in causing a person to come forward could not be minimised.
“If this had been handled in a closed circle, and there was no media interest, the world might not have known about it. The importance of the inquest proceedings cannot be ignored,” he added.
Treeby, Venter and Smit’s father were all named as “persons of interest” in the inquest. Magistrate Wessels ruled that Van Wyk could be identified, even though he has not yet pleaded to the charges, which involved charges of a sexual nature.
He said it was in the public interest and in the interest of the Pretoria North community that the suspect be identified and speculation about his identity be stopped, as several persons had been identified as suspects in the past and their photos published in the media.