The man accused of the rape and murder of 12-year-old Michaela Williams in Cape Town was on parole after serving time for an attack on another child, angry family and friends heard in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Michaela’s mother Beatrice Adams was so distraught that she started crying out helplessly and hyperventilating as she waited in the packed court to see the man accused of murdering her daughter.
Friends held her and prayed fervently over her, and finally helped her out of the court for some fresh air.
Michaela went missing in Pelican Park near Muizenberg on January 7. She was reported missing, and, according to initial information submitted to Magistrate Goolam Bawa, the accused cooperated with police and her body was found.
He was arrested and faces charges of rape and murder.
Bawa ordered that no pictures nor his name be published either in the news media or on social media. He issued a stern warning that there would be consequences if anybody posted it on Facebook or elsewhere.
This is for the purpose of a final identification process and other aspects of the investigation.
The accused, a thin man wearing a vest under a grubby shirt, said very little during the appearance as police kept a stern watch on the public gallery to make sure everybody stayed quiet for his appearance.
Prosecutor Nicky Konisi said the State would oppose bail, but the accused’s Legal Aid lawyer Kyle Jason said his client would not be applying for bail.
A long remand date was set so that all the necessities of the investigation can be gathered, and he will return via “court TV” on April 14. This means he will appear via a feed from prison which will be screened in court.
As soon as the accused turned in the dock to go down the steps back to the holding cells, angry residents could not hold it in any longer.
“Pig!” they shouted in Afrikaans. “You rubbish! You are evil,” they shouted as orderlies tried to shush them and prevent them from rushing into the dock.
Among those in court were members of Cape Town’s Walking Bus initiative who walk with children to school and back. It’s one of a multitude of measures by communities to keep themselves and their children safe from gangsters, predators and murderers.
Outside court, handmade signs that read “Leave our children alone” and “No bail” were tied to trees opposite the court.
The accused is understood to have stabbed a child in the heart while trying to rape her in 2005.
The child survived the attack after surgery. The man was found guilty of attempted murder and attempted rape and was sentenced to 10 years on each charge.
He is understood to have been released on parole in 2018.