Murder charges dropped for two co-accused in Annie van Rooyen case

The Women of Westlake protested outside the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on October 18 before the formal bail application of those accused in the murder of Annie van Rooyen.

Marlene van Rooyen, mother of slain 33-year-old Annie van Rooyen, says she wants to know what happened to her daughter to find closure.

This after the state withdrew its case against two of three men accused of her murder.

Annie had been missing for five months before her body was discovered under the bed of her neighbour, Jean Paul van der Westhuizen, on September 19.

On his arrest, Mr Van der Westhuizen made an admission to Kirstenhof police that the deceased went to his home with his co-accused, Florenzo Steyn, and Marshall Baartman, to smoke.

He wanted to have sex with the deceased who tried to run; they strangled her and then put her under the bed.

All three accused made their appearance at Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on October 18.

The bail hearing for Mr Van der Westhuizen will start on November 10.

Mr Steyn and Mr Baartman are free to return to their homes in Westlake Village, however, from the outburst from the public gallery it is clear they are not wanted back.

“I am not happy with the withdrawal,” says Marlene.

“The community and my family don’t want them back in Westlake.”

The grieving mother says that everyday she hears more speculations about what might have happened to Annie.

“I want to hear the truth about what happened to my child. The real truth, because people are coming with stories. This happened to Annie, that one says this, it is all different stories. I just want justice and I want to hear the truth.”

She says that if Mr Steyn and Mr Baartman are not involved in this then they might’ve seen what happened.

“So I don’t know how they can release them, if they knew something.”

Frances Lombard, Sub-council 18 PR councillor, who has been supporting the Van Rooyen family at court, said: “Ultimately we are of the belief that the other two co-accused that were released today for a lack of evidence, they were in and out of JP’s house all the time, every day, so we cannot understand that you can go in and out of a house that is stinky of a body that has been left decomposing for three months and know nothing.

“Whilst we agree there isn’t enough evidence, a lot of that comes down to the DNA processing and the backlogs of DNA. We accept that they come back to the community but we don’t want them in the community. This group of Westlake residents protesting outside of court don’t want them there.”

From next week, community members with the support of the DA Ward 71 branch will be carrying out door-to-door petitions. The first petition will be handed to Mr Steyn and Mr Baartman for the community members to state they have witnessed them frequenting Mr Van der Westhuizen’s home up until Annie’s body was discovered there. And to compel them to cooperate and provide any information they have to the family or police. The second petition will be handed to the court on November 10 to oppose bail for Mr Van der Westhuizen.

According to Kirstenhof Police spokesperson Deidre Solomon, the body of the deceased has not yet been released as the police awaits DNA results.

Carolynne Franklin, Ward 71 councillor said until the next court appearance it was important to give the justice system and the detectives space to do their jobs. So that the people who are guilty of this heinous crime are eventually brought to book and put in jail.

In the meantime, the next step for Westlake is to have a full memorial for Annie. “I think that is very important for the community. That we celebrate her life not only sit here and call for justice,” said Ms Lombard.

Holding up their placards for justice. Annie’s mother, Marlene van Rooyen, on the right, stands with Anthea Thebus from community based organisation, Women of Westlake.