Justice for Heinrich van Rooyen
During October 2005 a young girl Jessica Wheeler was murdered in the coastal holiday town of Knysna, South Africa. The local police made no arrests and a month later another young girl Victoria Stadler was found murdered in the Noetzie forest on the fringe of Knysna.
Placed under immense pressure, days later the police arrested a popular youngster Heinrich (“Heinie”) van Rooyen who was a “DJ” at a local nightclub. In both murder cases, the police suddenly experienced a host of “major breakthroughs” that included the finding of an “eye-witness” to Jessica’s murder – 40 days after the murder!
In Victoria’s murder, the police claimed to have “found” a crucial piece of evidence, her black pants and panty, only 3 meters from where her body was discovered. This was 5 days after forensic experts and trained police dogs had combed the area on numerous occasions!
The trial judge leaned heavily on the testimony of the “eye-witness” and the DNA that was “found” on the black pants in both murders. He returned with a verdict of guilty and sentenced Heinie to 30 years imprisonment without parole. The Appellant Division including the SA Constitutional Court dismissed Heinrich’s appeal without even glancing at his very real reasons.
Ex-policeman and author Alan D Elsdon recently embarked on what seemed an impossible task – to prove Heinrich’s innocence after 10 years. Within days, he found a true “eye-witness” to Jessica’s murder. This witness placed two men at the crime scene that was drug-related.
In Jessica’s case, Elsdon found that the police or state’s “eye-witness” who testified in court, committed complete perjury. His false testimony was a plan devised by members of the Knysna police to protect the identity of the feared “Drug Lord” in Knysna. Sworn statements obtained and other new evidence proves these findings.
In Victoria’s case, Elsdon discovered that members of the police committed perjury in the so-called “finding” of the black pants and panty. Various police officers in sworn statements claimed to have been in the Noetzie forest at the time of the finding of the crucial exhibits. Elsdon came across other police statements and documents made at the time that are contradictory. It proves members of the police tampered with the exhibits “found” in the forest. The exhibits that sealed Heinrich’s fate should never have been admissible in court.
These are just two examples of new evidence gathered in recent months and provided to the police for further investigation. The police however refused to revisit the murders despite the incriminating new evidence and persons willing to co-operate. The last means available to show Heinrich’s innocence is the SA legal system.
However, additional statements are required from persons to strengthen a last attempt appeal. An Advocate will then be in a strong position to make an informed and factual Appeal to the Appellant Division and/or Constitutional Court with the backing of the media and other foundations.
Heinrich has maintained his innocence from the day of his arrest. He has spent 10 years in prison and faces another 20 innocent years behind bars. Funds are required to keep this worthy cause moving forward and to seek “Justice for Heinrich van Rooyen” and his family.
08 January 2016