Two of the accused in the Krugersdorp triple murder case started laughing on Wednesday when the magistrate mentioned that a photo of one of the victims had been found on a confiscated phone

Bail was denied in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday to Le Roux Steyn, 20, and his sister Marcelle Steyn, 18, as well as Christiaan Kruger, 29.

The fourth accused, Fabian Luff, 32, earlier dropped his bail application. Luff had previously decided to use a private attorney.

Victor da Silva, from Legal Aid SA, represented the other three. The four are accused of killing an estate agent and two insurance brokers over a period of three weeks in May, giving rise to fears that a serial killer was at large in the Krugersdorp area.

Le Roux and Marcelle were told to keep quiet after they laughed when Magistrate Delize Smit told the court that Marcelle had photos, of dead estate agent Hanlie Lategan tied to a chair, on her phone.

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Bodies found in boots

Lategan, 52, was found dead next to a stream on a farm in Elandsvlei, Randfontein, on the West Rand on Tuesday, May 31. She had gone missing the previous day after going to meet clients.

At the time, police said she had parked her car at a Krugersdorp private hospital, which was near the house where she was supposed to meet clients.

CCTV footage showed two people approaching her.

The bodies of insurance brokers Anthony Scholefield, 64, and Kevin McAlpine, 29, were found in the boots of their cars in the same area on May 10 and 26, respectively.

All three victims had scheduled appointments with clients.

Scholefield’s body was found in the boot of his car, covered with a black bag. He appeared to have been strangled and had sustained a head injury.

Claims of abuse in custody

McAlpine’s body was found in a black bag in the boot of his car.

The case was postponed to October 13 in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court.

Kruger said in his affidavit, read out by Smit, that he had attended school until Grade 8 and was a slow learner who struggled under pressure. He lived with his mother and worked as a builder for his grandfather.

He only became aware of the murders after reading about them in newspapers, adding that he was with his grandfather when the incidents happened.

Kruger claimed that one police officer hit him in the face, while another tied a plastic bag around his head, saying they would suffocate him “like he suffocated the victims”.

Le Roux, a former pupil at Hoërskool Adelaar, said in his affidavit that police had placed a gas mask over his head and that he hadn’t been able to breathe.

In her affidavit, Marcelle said she was a former pupil at Hoërskool Monument in Krugersdorp.

She said police threatened to rape her and tied her hands and feet to a chair.

All three indicated that they would plead not guilty.

‘Big emptiness in the family’

According to the investigating officer’s affidavit, Kruger was linked to one of the victims via his cellphone records.

Le Roux and Marcelle were allegedly positively identified on CCTV footage withdrawing money from one of the victim’s bank accounts. Clothing similar to that worn by the man in the footage was allegedly found in Le Roux’s possession.

The officer said he believed the accused should not be granted bail as they appeared to be violent.

They had interfered with the investigation by deleting details from their social media accounts, and Marcelle had refused to give police the pin code to her phone, the officer said.

Krugersdorp Community Watch head Gert Jonker said in an affidavit that locals had expressed their anger about the murders and that some had threatened to kill the accused.

Ferdi de Wit, the brother of Lategan, said he was broken that his sister would never know her granddaughter.

De Wit told News24 that Lategan’s son’s wife had given birth to a little girl last week on Sunday. “Her death left a big emptiness in the family. She missed the birth of her grandchild and it was a very sad day for the family,” De Wit said.

He said the police were doing an excellent job and justice would prevail.