The night of the 16th


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This page focusses on some events of the night of 16 March 2005.

After some communication between Fred and Ms Lotz about the whereabouts of Inge, Fred drove to Ms Lotz in Welgemoed to fetch a security remote control device to enter the Shiraz complex where Inge stayed in flat nr 21. In the context of the timeline as suggested by cellphone records and distance from his flat, Fred would have arrived at Ms Lotz at about 22:40 (exact time is unknown).

After Fred picked up the remote control from Ms Lotz in the driveway, without staying significantly long, Fred drove back into De Mist and then turned left into Claassen Street. After first telling police officers on the morning of the 17th that he turned around just before the speed camera on the Koelenhof Rd near Kayamandi (just outside Stellenbosch) he later changed his story to that he turned around at the Jip de Jager/Kommissaris intersection in Welgemoed after his friend Marius Botha asked him ‘to wait for him at Ms Lotz’ home’. Marius in that time had contact with another friend Christo Pretorius who found Inge’s body at around 22:34 and who informed Marius of this at 22:36.

This is how Adv. Dup de Bruyn explained Fred’s movements:

DE BRUYN: The accused said what he could have said, because it is indeed what happened – that he was about at the lights on the corner of Kommissaris and Jip de Jager when he received the message and it is about there that he turned around. He is not certain whether he drove across the road, or if he turned right there.

claassen_park2

Map data: Google, DigitalGlobe

Above: Fred got the remote control from Ms Lotz at the blue dash (the driveway of the Lotz home) at about 22:40. He then reversed out and drove up Claassen Street to the circle, turned left and along Kommissaris. He then ‘turned around at the Jip de Jager/Kommissaris intersection’. Shortly thereafter he drove the same route back and parked at the red dash (nose of vehicle pointing this way) and waited till Marius arrived minutes later. One can only assume he turned around at the petrol station on the right corner of the intersection. As we will see later, when you are over the intersection it is very difficult to turn around quickly.

This is what transpired in court:

TEUNISSEN: Where were you when he came to fetch the remote control from you, where at your home? LOTZ: I just opened the garage door and he got out and got the remote from me in the garage. COURT: And he drove away immediately? — LOTZ: Yes.

TEUNISSEN: When the accused left your home, in which direction did he drive? — LOTZ: He drove around the corner of Claassen Street. — TEUNISSEN: He went around the corner of Claassen Street? Turned into Claassen Street? — LOTZ: Yes.

Shortly after leaving, at 22:42:48 while still in Welgemoed, Fred called Marius to find out if he ‘had any news’.

This is Marius Botha’s testimony about what transpired during this call:

TEUNISSEN: Ok, at that stage what was the conversation between you and him about? — BOTHA: Fred wanted to know from me if I have heard from Christo. During the conversation I told him that I haven’t heard from Christo because I didn’t want to give him the news over the telephone. Fred also asked me why I am in my car, he could hear that I was already – or that I was in my vehicle. I told him that I was on my way to a shop – again because I did not want to give him the news at that stage, and I asked him if he was still at Juanita’s house and he said that he was there close by.

This call lasted 44 seconds and ended at 22:43:32.

About a minute after the end of the first call at 22:44:33 Fred called Marius again.

TEUNISSEN: The call at 22:44, can you recall what the nature of the conversation was? — BOTHA: Fred called me back and told me that he could sense that something is wrong and that I don’t want to tell him what is wrong, and I told him – or he also said that I must not lie to him. I basically just told him that he must please trust me and just wait at Tannie Juanita’s house. I will meet him there.

This conversation only lasted 22 seconds and ended at 22:44:55.

This is from Marius’ sworn statement dated 29 April 2005:

After this Fred called me and asked if I have heard something from Christo yet. I could not ascertain where he was at that moment. I told him that I have heard nothing yet as I didn’t want to give him the news over the cellphone but rather in person. He wanted to know why I was in my car, whereupon I answered that I was on my way to a shop. I intentionally didn’t want to tell him about Inge’s death as I was afraid that he would drive to Stellenbosch and then come upon the crime scene. He realized that I wasn’t speaking the truth and insisted that I tell him what Christo told me. I told him to trust me and to meet me at Tannie Juanita’s house. I pertinently told him to wait for me there.

A few noteworthy points: It appears that Marius was under the impression during the first call that Fred wasn’t yet driving towards Stellenbosch otherwise he would have told him during the first call already to turn around and to meet him at Ms Lotz’ house. Marius only told Fred to wait at Ms Lotz’ house during the second phone call. Was it because Fred’s vehicle was perhaps stationary during the first call? Interestingly Fred could detect that Marius was driving – and Marius couldn’t detect the same about Fred?

This is how the judge summarized the events of that night as it relates to the phone calls between Fred and Marius and between Fred and his mother:

[47] Shortly hereafter, at 22:42 did the accused, who just left the Lotz home and who was still in Welgemoed called Marius to find out if he has heard from Christo. Marius was in his vehicle and initially mentioned that he was on his way to a shop. Something about the conversation bothered the accused because two minutes later at 22:44 he called him again and, as Marius stated it, he said that he could realize that there is something wrong and that Marius must not lie to him. Marius asked him to trust him and to wait for him at the Lotz home. He then turned around and parked in Claassen Street next to the house to wait for Marius. While he was there he called his parents and asked them to pray with him because he didn’t know what was going on.

Fred called his mother at 22:45:33, about 38 seconds after the end of the second call.

An article by Karin Brynard in the Insig magazine of August 2005 reports (according to Mr Louis van der Vyver, Fred’s father) on what transpired during this phone call between Fred and his mother.

His first words to his mother were “Mom, something is terribly wrong with Inge”. He then told her that he has been trying to get hold of Inge all evening, that he has picked up a key from Tannie Juanita and that he is on his way to her flat. Sometime during the call he also asked them to pray as he didn’t know what was going on.

The question is: Why did Fred tell his mother he was on his way to Inge when he had already turned around?

The second question is – did Fred have any intention to leave Welgemoed to drive to Stellenbosch or did he simply turn around at the circle or petrol station and parked in Claassen Street to wait for Christo’s news (via Marius)?

Let’s look at the timeline.

The intersection of Jip de Jager and Kommissaris is a mere 420 m away from the Lotz home. At a conservative average speed of 40 km/h this distance can be covered in 40 seconds.

The second phone call in which Marius asked Fred to wait for him at the Lotz home ended at 126 seconds after the beginning of the first call. The phone call between Fred and his mother started 165 seconds after the start of the first call with Marius.

xfull_road_turn

Map data: Google, DigitalGlobe

Above: If we assume for the moment Fred started the first call to Marius when he was just leaving the driveway of the Lotz home, then by 126 seconds (when the second call ended when Marius asked him to wait for him at the Lotz home) would have taken him way past the intersection – nearly down to the N1 already. The intersection where he swore he turned around is only about 40 seconds from the Lotz home! (We accounted for a conservative 30 seconds’ wait at the traffic light.) It is obviously possible, even likely, that Fred started the first call well on way to the Claassen circle – this would surely after 126 seconds put him on the N1 at least. But 126 seconds after that first call started he was only at the intersection – about 420 m further? Then after the end of the second call it took him 38 seconds to get back to Claassen Street, to park and to initiate a call with his mother?

If after 126 seconds Fred was only at the Jip de Jager/Kommissaris intersection as he claimed, it means that he was stationary in between or stopped at the red light for about 89 seconds (assuming a 38 sec travel time from the Lotz home to the intersection). At that time of the night it would be extremely unlikely that he would have waited at the red signal for 89 seconds.

This mean that Fred could not have been driving for all this time and that he was parked somewhere for some of, or all of the time that he was on the phone with Marius.

There are two possible scenarios: First scenario – just after leaving the Lotz home he called Marius – just before this call ended 44 second later he arrived at the intersection and pulled into the petrol station area – he could also have started the first call after he has already stopped at the petrol station (the timeline even suggest this as very likely). Then after the call he waited stationary for 61 seconds – he then called Marius for the second time for 22 seconds. After this second call he drove back to the Lotz home and 38 seconds later he has already stopped in Claassen Street (to make the call to his mother).

Second scenario – just after leaving the Lotz home he called Marius – sometime before this call ended 44 seconds later he has driven up Claassen Street, around the circle and back down to stop just next to the Lotz house – alternatively he could have started the first call after he stopped back in Claassen Street – after the end of the first call he waited 61 seconds – then he called Marius a second time for 22 seconds – he then waited 38 seconds before calling his mother, telling her that he is on his way to Inge’s apartment. Thus all three calls were made in Claassens.

Is his behaviour in either scenario indicative of a person that has a sense of urgency and that is truly concerned about his girlfriend’s wellbeing? Why did he not proceed with his journey to beyond the intersection after the end of the first call? Why after the first call did he decide to wait if he realized that something was not right as far as his girlfriend Inge’s wellbeing was concerned?

Third scenario: He made the first call from the petrol station (note that he now already stopped with his apparent venture to drive Stellenbosch without having any negative information or reason to do so). Just after the first call he drove back to the Lotz home and made the second call to Marius from there. And just after that he made the call to his mother. Thus he was back at the Lotz home before Marius asked him to wait there.

Third question

Fred’s last attempt to contact Inge was at 22:16:47. During his drive to Ms Lotz’ house, while waiting between the first and second calls, and while waiting for Marius in his bakkie outside the Lotz home, there is no evidence that he attempted to contact by phone Inge even once. Contrast this with Ms Lotz who didn’t stop trying to get hold of Inge – calling every 5 to 6 minutes – the last call to Inge was at 22:48 – at this time the body was already discovered.

Why did Fred give up on trying to contact Inge?

garage_turn

Map data: Google, DigitalGlobe

Above: The petrol station on the corner of Jip de Jager and Kommissaris. This would provide an easy turn around place. If you proceed over the intersection (to any side) then divisions between the lanes make it very difficult to turn around. From Kommissaris it is easy to slip over into the petrol station area (before you get to the traffic lights) – turn around – and then slip right back into Kommissaris on way back to Claassens. (We grant the possibility of a U-turn at the lights – but this would have been long before the start or end of the second call.)

(Let us not forget that according to Dup de Bruyn himself Fred received BOTH calls BEFORE the intersection. Thereby suggesting at least a span of 126 seconds for the calls in a distance that would have taken 40 seconds at most to drive.)

demist_full

Map data: Google, DigitalGlobe

Above: The route from right in front of the Lotz home – up in Claassens to the circle – left into and up Kommissaris – turn around at the intersection (at the petrol station – assuming it is the place where he turned around – it would have been the easiest).

jip_full

Map data: Google, DigitalGlobe

Above: The yellow line shows the road from the Lotz home to the intersection. The red line shows the division between lanes – ensuring the first turn around opportunity on the Jip de Jager is at the green marker – Saffraan Street – about 100 seconds (including 30 seconds at the traffic light) away from Lotz home. From there it would be at least 100 seconds back to the Lotz home. Remember it took Fred only 38 seconds after his last call to Marius to get back to the Lotz home.

x_jip1

Map data: Google, GigitalGlobe

Above: Including time at the traffic lights 126 seconds would have brought him close to or even to onto the N1. It was late night and open and fast roads would have been a given – also assuming concerned urgency behind the wheel.

jip_n2

Map data: Google, GigitalGlobe

Above: Once on the N1 it is also not easy to turn around. The first opportunity would be at Willie van Schoor/Durban Rd cross over (red blocked). Impossible to get back to the Lotz home in 38 seconds if he turned around here.

What it comes down to is this. If Fred turned around at the intersection, it took him 126 seconds to drive 420 metres – a distance that can take a mere 35-40 seconds to drive. If he did not turn around at the intersection but after the intersection, then it would have taken him a considerable time to turn around. He would then not have been back in Claassens in 38 seconds to make the call to his mother.

The most likely deduction is that Fred drove to the petrol station, parked there, then called Marius, after the call he waited for a minute, called Marius again, then drove back to the Lotz home and called his mother when he stopped there. He then waited for Marius to arrive until Ms Lotz found him there. Or he even drove back to the Lotz home after the first call to Marius and when he stopped in Claassens next to the Lotz home, made the second call to him. And then the call to his mother. The close time span between the end of the last call to Marius and the start of the call to his mother (38 sec) strongly supports this possibility.

This all is not only contrary to all his statement and testimonies, but begs the overriding question: Did Fred intend to drive to Stellenbosch in the first place? If so, why was he not further than the intersection by the end of the second call? If he was, how did he get back to the Lotz home in 38 seconds? If he was at the same stationary position between and during both calls – why?

Fourth Question:

Fred swore that after Ms Lotz found him in his bakkie he went with her into her house where together they sat in a sitting room and prayed until Marius arrived. It should be noted that Ms Lotz categorically denies that this has ever taken place.

kant_de_mist2

Google Streetview (2009)

Above: When Fred returned to the Lotz home he parked at the side of the house (yellow block). The driveway and front entrance is to the left/front outside this photo. Due to the structure of the house Ms Lotz would not have seen Fred being parked here. (The red square to the top is the circle at Claassens/Kommissaris. When he left initially he would have followed the red line from out of De Mist up into Claassens and then tuned left at the circle into Kommissaris.)

This is the judge’s summary of Fred’s version of events:

[51] According to the accused he got out of his bakkie and walked towards Ms Lotz when she came out of the house. She was very upset and he walked with her into the house. There they went to sit in the small sitting room next to the kitchen to wait for Marius. Although he was upset himself he tried to calm her.

At 22:52:33 Ms Lotz tried to call Fred. Although Fred was not busy on the phone at this time he did not answer the phone – it went over to voicemail. The call registered 10 seconds long. Sometime after this call Ms Lotz went outside to see if she could see Fred or Marius and she found Fred sitting in his bakkie.

TEUNISSEN: Did you make any attempt to make contact with the accused? — LOTZ: Once I called his phone but he didn’t answer. — COURT: You tried to call the accused? — LOTZ: Yes.

TEUNISSEN: Good, and what then, what happened then? — LOTZ: When Marius took a bit too long to arrive I went outside through my front door and looked up the street to see if he is not coming down De Mist Street. Then I walked around the corner and looked at where Marius would be coming from and then I saw Fred sitting in his bakkie in Claasen Street. […]

TEUNISSEN: You said that the bakkie was standing there, where was the accused? — LOTZ: He sat in his bakkie. The accused was sitting in his bakkie. […]

TEUNISSEN: Could you see if he was busy with anything while he sat in his bakkie, or what could you see? — LOTZ: He was sitting leaning back with his eyes closed. — COURT: Did you walk to the bakkie and saw it? — LOTZ: Yes I was about a metre from the bakkie. […]

TEUNISSEN: And when you were about a metre from the bakkie or from where the driver’s seat was, what did you do then? — LOTZ: I said “Fred what are you doing here?” […]

TEUNISSEN: What was his reaction? — LOTZ: He didn’t answer me. — TEUNISSEN: And then? — LOTZ: Then I saw Marius coming down De Mist Street and turning into our driveway. I turned around and started walking to our house’s front gate.

This is the testimony of Marius:

TEUNISSEN: Now with your arrival in De Mist Street where did you go to park? — BOTHA: I parked in the driveway that is right in front of Tannie Juanita’s house. — TEUNISSEN: Was Mr Van der Vyver’s vehicle also at the house or not? — BOTHA: Fred’s white Corsa bakkie stood in the sidestreet of the house, in other words not in the street where the driveway is, on the side. — TEUNISSEN: You said the bakkie was parked there, where was Mr Van der Vyver? — BOTHA: While I was driving past his vehicle I saw that Fred was at that time sitting in his vehicle.

At 22:53 Marius send a text message to someone – this call registered to the Karl Bremer cell tower. He was thus very close to the Lotz house – at most 2 minutes away. One can realistically assume that Marius arrived at about 22:55.
According to both the testimonies of Ms Lotz and Marius Fred was still sitting is his vehicle or just getting out of it when Marius arrived. Fred could not possibly have spent time with Ms Lotz in the small sitting room waiting for Marius.

Even if we assume for a moment that both Ms Lotz’ and Marius’ testimonies are false – let us look at the phone records – at 22:52:43 Fred was still not with Ms Lotz – and Marius arrived at about 22:55. Are we to believe that after Ms Lotz failed attempt to call Fred, that there was enough time for her to go outside, find him, return to the house and pray with Fred before Marius arrived 2-3 minutes later? Doesn’t the timeline rather support the version of Ms Lotz and Marius?

First of all Fred told the police that he turned around close to Kayamandi (just outside Stellenbosch) when he very clearly didn’t, he told Marius and Ms Lotz that he wanted to drive to Stellenbosch to check on Inge but instead he dawdled around Welgemoed, he told his mother that he was on his way to Inge when he clearly wasn’t, he stopped trying to get hold of Inge, and then he denied that Ms Lotz and Marius found him in his bakkie.

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komm_draai2

Google Streetview (2009)

Above: From the Claassen circle towards the traffic lights at the Jip de Jager intersection (red square) where Fred said he turned around. From this circle up in Kommissaris it is about 370 metres to the crossing.

garage_gif_turn2

Google Streetview (2009)

Above: Kommissaris running 90 degrees into Jip de Jager at traffic lights (yellow block). The most probable turn around area would have been at this petrol station area. From De Mist’s side slip in over (red) – out back towards De Mist (green). There is also space to park and make calls.

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To conclude: When you consider and look at the road and distance from the Lotz home in De Mist to the intersection (about 420 m – 40 secs) – then there is really only one question to be answered. Is it possible that Fred could have made BOTH calls to Marius BEFORE the intersection? If we take in mind that these calls would have taken 126 seconds from the start of the first one to the end of the last one. We must remember that according to all his statements and testimonies he was urgently on his way to Stellenbosch. Why did he not proceed over the intersection? 126 seconds would have taken him way past the intersection, and if this was the case, he could not have been back at the Lotz home in 38 seconds after his last call to Marius. So yes, he most probably turned around before the intersection as he said he did – but why? He had no reason to stop for the first call – or even after that and until the end of the second call. Marius only asked him to wait for him at the Lotz home during the second call. He was supposed to only have turned around after 126 seconds – at the end of the second call.

Everything considered, it rather seems very possible and most likely that Fred made the second call to Marius when he was back at the Lotz home already. And just after that he made the call to his mother, telling her he is on his way to Stellenbosch – and this after he already turned back.

This all happened when he was supposed to be merrily on his way to Stellenbosch to go and find out what happened to his girlfriend about whom he was apparently very concerned about. Or did he already know what the news would be – and therefore had no intention or reason to drive to Stellenbosch in the first place? This is the question.

Not talking on the phone while driving (or stopping to make any of the two calls to Marius) was never entered as an argument and there is enough evidence in his cellphone records to confirm that he previously drove while speaking on the phone. And this was supposed to be an extremely urgent situation.

We invite Fred to answer these questions. His responses will be posted on this page. His lip print with his answers will be appreciated.


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