Please note that the content of this page does not aim to assign guilt or to accuse. It aims to inform and to look at matters that were dealt with in court and aims to ask whether the court considered all possibilities.
Above: The verdict of the criminal case against Frederik Barend van der Vyver on the charge of murder, delivered by Judge Deon van Zyl on 29 November 2007.
These were the closing words (translated from Afrikaans):
Because of the wide media coverage that this has case received, with the inevitable speculation that went along with it, it must be noted that however strong the suspicion may be against the accused that the court cannot base its findings on suspicions. The court is acutely aware of the immense heartache that family and friends must experience in these circumstances and how important it is for them and the whole community that justice be served.
When a beautiful and gifted young woman’s life is ended in this way it is understandable that the community demands that someone pay the price. The court however can do nothing more than what the evidence in front of it permits. In this case there is not enough evidence to hold the accused responsible for this terrible crime. In this process he and his family also suffered for an extended period of time.
The question arises if there was enough evidence in the first place to bring this case to court. However hesitant I am to question the functioning of the police, it appears that at the initial stages of this case the investigation was weak and ineffective. Unfortunately, this may be the result of inadequate training and a lack adequate experience.
In light of all these considerations the court finds that the accused’s alibi is likely possibly true and that the State could not show his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The court finds him innocent and dismisses him.
Above: On 15 April 2005 the police asked Fred if perhaps there is something “valuable” in his bakkie. He then showed them the hammer behind the seat. (The hammer may have been moved slightly before the photo was taken.) Fred said he “forgot” this hammer which he received as a Christmas present from Inge’s parents, behind the seat. When exactly after Christmas 2004 and for what reason he put it behind the seat, is unclear. The photo on the newspaper’s front page would suggest that the date of the paper is possibly around 10 April 2005 (the 9th was Camilla and Prince Charles’s wedding). The hammer became an object of suspicion due to the nature of the wounds. Read more about the hammer here.
Above: Accused Fred van der Vyver said he was at work at Mutual Park about 48 km away from Stellenbosch (right red square) during the estimated time of the murder.
Above: The most likely route to take from Mutual Park to Stellenbosch (and back) would be the N2/Baden Powell Route, it is about 48 km and 35-45 minute’s drive (one way, depending on speed travelled and traffic).
Above: An aerial image of the N1/Baden Powell route.
Above: An aerial image of Mutual Park (left, where Fred worked) and Anfield Village (right, where Fred lived). (Image 2005)
Above: Mutual Park. A – Cricket field / B – Ramp over train track to PFS parking decks (north) / C – Walkway from parking decks to building via West Campus / D – PFS parking decks (north) / E – Walkway from parking to 3rd floor of main building / F – Parking deck (‘twirly whirly’) / G – Western entrance-exit / H – Main entrance-exit / I – Eastern entrance-exit
Just left of the “twirly whirly” parking area (F) is the managers parking area, just to the top of this is the station’s parking area and terminal. (Image 2005)
The parking areas were, at the time, not monitored by booms or CCTV.
Above: Anfield Village where Fred and Marius shared a flat, no 39 (left). They dropped a cupboard for friend Jean Minnaar at no 320 (right). The green line indicates the shortest route between the flats, about 200-250 m. (Image 2005)
Above: The shortest route from Anfield Village to Stellenbosch via the N1 is via the Bottelary road. About 48 km. This is the route Fred would most probably have taken via the Lotzes home in Welgemoed (red square just left of Bellville Park). Fred chose to drive this route to pick up a remote for the security gate from Mrs Lotz. The route with the red lines show the N1/Baden Powell route to Stellenbosch. Also about 48 km.
Below is a route never investigated (blue line). A very possible route from Mutual Park to Stellenbosch. The route via N2 – Modderdam (Robert Sobukwe)/M10 via Belhar and Kuilsrivier (M12/Polkadraai). Surprisingly 90% of the road is a lovely double lane road.
Above: The red striped routes are the N1 (top) and N2 routes respectively, both around 48 km one way.
Above: The slip-off from the N2 towards Somerset West (red striped) onto Modderdam/Robert Sobukwe/M10 (yellow). This takes you onto the the fast M12/Polkadraai road on way to Stellenbosch (42 km). (See map above this image)
Above: The Modderdam Rd/M10 (upwards in the distance somewhere) leads onto this double lane road road (M12/Polkadraai) which leads to the Kuilsrivier crossings (underneath R300 and over R102/Van Riebeeck) towards Stellenbosch (to the right).
Above: From the Van Riebeeck crossing the Polkadraai road (also double lane) leading towards Stellenbosch.
Above: 90% of the N2/M10/M12/Polkadraai route is double lane road both ways like this. It is a fast and open road (see videos below, first part of M12 top video, M12/Polkadraai, bottom video). (Polkadraai is actually the whole M12, but we mainly use Polkadraai here to refer to the part from Kuilsrivier to Stellenbosch.)
Although this route as a whole certainly has more traffic lights than the N2/Baden Powell road, the Polkadraai leg of this route is a much faster road than the Baden Powell leg of the “normal” N2 route. We must remember that it’s a double lane road for most of the way, easing congestion. It is 42 km versus the 48 km of the Baden Powell route. Driving time of about 35-40 minutes seems very possible. The videos above represents the conditions of a good part of the route at around 3 pm on a weekday.
Thus we have 3 routes that can be driven in less than 40 minutes one way. Each one has its positives and negatives to consider. The N1 route has less traffic lights to Shiraz through Stellenbosch and it is possibly the best and most open driving surface. N2/Baden Powell is also a fast route but Baden Powell can hold traffic up (as it is mostly a single lane road). And you get quite a few traffic lights from that side through Stellenbosch towards Shiraz (though you can obviously catch them green as well). Baden Powell runs into Polkadraai just before Stellenbosch and therefore they share the same traffic lights into Stellenbosch. The Polkadraai route is much shorter than the N1 and N2 routes and although it is mostly double lane, it has the most traffic lights of the three routes.
Point is, there are 3 routes, all by which 35 minutes one way are doable if you drive with urgency and intention. On a good day and with urgency and intention behind the wheel the Polkadraai route can quite possibly give you less than 35 minutes one way, or at least a comfortable 35 minutes. (Testing routes now are difficult since traffic – especially in Stellenbosch – tripled over the last few years – but our own tests have confirmed driving times of sub-40 minutes.)
From the Paarl road in to Shiraz is about 45 seconds’ drive. From the complex’s parking area it is about 20 seconds’ walk to the flat’s door. From outside the gate, maybe a minutes walk (see more about the complex here). Please note that although the Klein Welgevonden Estate area is much more developed now, the road from the Paarl road to Shiraz is the same as 8 years ago.
Above: Fred’s working area.
Above: PFS parking decks as seen from Fred’s working area. The Eastern walkway to the parking area is just below to the right, going out from the 3rd floor.
Above (top): The Smooth Room where Fred said he gave a presentation to a USA delegation on 16 March 2005. Ms Shahana Toefy said Fred sat next to her for the whole duration of the presentation (which supposedly went on till about 5 pm). However, she did not testify on this in court. Due to conflicting testimonies there is uncertainty if this presentation indeed took place on the 16th.
Above (bottom): From the Smooth Room to the 7th floor elevators. About 20 seconds’ walk. (Can be 10 secs)
Above: From the 3rd floor elevators to the turnstiles at the PFS parking decks. Time in elevator from the 7th to the 3rd floor about 40 seconds (can be a bit longer or shorter). Time from 3rd floor elevators to the parking area just over 1 minute.
The time to walk from the Smooth Room to the PFS parking area could be around 2 minutes. Another 2 minutes to get to your vehicle and to get out of the Mutual Park perimeter onto outer roads.
There is a window period of 105 minutes in the alibi that cannot be fully accounted for, but the judge considered it “up to the point of being impossible” to get out of the building, drive to Stellenbosch, commit the crime, drive back, and get back into the building in “90” minutes (but was actually 105 minutes he needed to consider). Only the N2/Baden Powell route was really considered. Let’s look at the 105 minutes again, considering the N1 and the Polkadraai routes: 5 minutes from Smooth Room to vehicle and on way / 37.5 minutes to Stellenbosch / 20 minutes at Shiraz / 37.5 minutes back to OM / 5 minutes parking and going in = a fairly easy 105 minutes.