Man allegedly behind rape, murder and burning of lesbian couple ‘was their good friend’

The man who was allegedly behind the brutal torture, rape, murder and burning of two married lesbians has said that he was “good friends” with the couple.

Brits Magistrate’s Court in South Africa heard that he had a “very good relationship” with South African spouses Joey van Niekerk, 32, and Anisha van Niekerk, 30.

(Facebook/Wynand van Niekerk)

“They always came to visit me at the shop,” said the accused – who cannot be named until he enters a plea – before adding: “I also helped them with their horses.”

Joey and Anisha went missing on December 10, after leaving home for a funeral.

(Facebook/joey van nierkerk)

They never arrived at the burial in Pretoria, and an appeal was launched after they didn’t come back to their home in Mooinooi, in the north-east of the country.

Their burned-out car was found six days after they left home – and on December 28, bones thought to be theirs were discovered along a road near the couple’s home town.

(Facebook/joey van nierkerk)

Before being killed, the victims were reportedly trapped in a container on a property belonging to one of those accused.

They were tortured, then murdered.

Joey and Anisha had been married for three years.

(Facebook/Anisha van Niekerk)

The eight suspects, who are made up of six men and two women, are charged with murder, kidnapping‚ rape‚ house break-in and robbery with aggravated circumstances, among others.

Many of the couple’s family and friends were in the court’s gallery, wearing black t-shirts which said: “Geregtigheid vir Joey & Anisha,” which translates as “Justice for Joey & Anisha”.

The accused – one of eight suspects who fill face the court – said he could not think of a possible motive for the lesbian couple’s vicious murder, according to South African publication The Times.

He also claimed that the police had tortured and assaulted him to force a confession, and that his attempts to complain to authorities had been met with silence.

South Africa Pride parade (Getty)

South Africa Pride parade (Getty)

The police allegedly slapped‚ kicked and hit him and also hit him, sometimes with a pipe-like object, leaving him with a broken finger.

He also told the court that he urinated blood for two weeks following the attacks.


There has been a worrying number of attacks on lesbians in South Africa in recent times.

In April last year, lesbian Nonkie Smous was raped, murdered and set on fire in a case which shocked the country.

After her death, LGBT people in South Africa were warned that they faced unprecedented levels of violence.

(Facebook/joey van nierkirk)

Cindy Maotoana, who chairs an LGBT group in Limpopo, said her community was being targeted – especially lesbians, many of whom have been so-called ‘corrective raped’.

Maotoana said: “LGBTI [people] are hiding because they are scared of being raped and being brutally burned…so we are here asking support from the province.”

(Facebook/Anisha van Niekerk)

Speaking in May, she added: “Nothing is wrong with us. We do not need to be killed.

She pleaded that her sexuality “does not mean someone has to rape and kill me or even burn me.

“Can you imagine someone being burned alive? It is not good what they are doing to us.”

Speaking in December, Smous’s friend Nthabiseng Mokanyane said: “Since Nonkie’s death, people feel they can get away with everything.

(Photo: JOHANN HATTINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

Pride in Johannesburg (Getty)

“Women identifying as butch lesbians are particularly singled out – being harassed for thinking they are ‘men’ and being threatened about the need to be ‘taught they are women’.”

Earlier this month, 23-year-old lesbian Noxolo Xakeka was murdered in a homophobic attack.