News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
8 Aug 2017
5:15 am

Sorry, steak knife killer tells victim’s son

Ilse de Lange

Johan Visser was convicted on charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking.

Picture: Thinkstock

An HIV-positive man, who is also a drug and gambling addict, yesterday told the High Court in Pretoria he had no idea why he stabbed to death with a steak knife a 60-year-old woman who was like a mother to him.

Johan Visser, 36, was earlier convicted on charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking after he admitted that he murdered Anita Cassel at her Wonderboom home in September 2015.

Visser had previously lived with Cassel and her son, Danie, and also briefly worked as a waiter at a pizza restaurant in Montana at which Danie is the manager.

Visser admitted he went to the Cassels’ house in the early morning hours to get the restaurant keys because he was still owed a salary and wanted to steal money.

He told the court he had not planned to attack anyone and only wanted the keys to get to the money. But he had grabbed a steak knife and started stabbing Mrs Cassel when she came out of her room.

When she screamed and her son came to her aid, he attacked Danie too. Mrs Cassel died at the scene after being stabbed eight times in the chest and back.

Visser, who has several previous convictions for theft and for culpable homicide, after his girlfriend died in a car crash he caused, testified that Mrs Cassel had been like a second mother and had always been there for him.

He asked her son for forgiveness, saying he had not intended to hurt anyone and often lay awake at night wondering why he had killed a woman who was a “really beautiful person”.

He said he wanted to get psychological and psychiatric help and had already applied to take part in an anger management course.

Danie Cassel testified that he still had panic attacks and that he and the 11-year-old boy who found the body had to have counselling.

He said Visser had asked him for money the day before the murder, but he refused because he could see Visser was under the influence of something and did not want to give him money that would be spent on drugs.