A 16-year-old youth’s failure to run away or tell his parents about seeing his friend cold-bloodedly murder their school secretary did not necessarily mean he was a willing participant in the murder, a psychologist has told the High Court in Pretoria.
Psychologist Professor Gerard Labuschagne yesterday testified in the trial of an 18-year-old youth who has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbing and murdering Esbe Koster, a secretary at Rabboni Christian School in Brits in November 2016.
His 19-year-old friend, who is serving 25 years in jail after admitting guilt, testified the younger boy had been a willing participant in the plan to hijack Koster.
But the younger boy insisted he had no idea they were going to hijack Koster, let alone kill her.
He said his friend had forced Koster at gunpoint to drive to a deserted spot where he shot her twice in the head. He had not run away or told his parents what had happened because he was afraid of the older boy, he added.
The school vice-principal, Christian Benade, testified the self-confessed killer had a history of misbehaviour. When he was 10, he had attacked a girl with a knife. The school had asked him not to come back in 2015, but then gave him another chance.
But Benade said he did not have a dominant personality and he could not see him planning the kidnapping and murder on his own.
Labuschagne testified that the older boy had behavioural problems from a young age and was at risk of becoming a psychopath. Others were in danger of being hurt and coerced to do what he wanted.
That the younger boy was a willing participant because he did not run away was not the only possible scenario, as victims often did not act as expected, he added.