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Benoni News: Murder trial finally under way after suspect evaded cops for seven years

Benoni News: Murder trial finally under way after suspect evaded cops for seven years

A murder trial that has been on hold for almost a decade finally got under way on Monday.

Belgian national Jurgen Karel Gunther Vandekeere, 42, is accused of killing Chantelle Barnard, 20, in Benoni in April 2011.

The 20-year-old was allegedly raped and her throat was slit before her killer bathed her body, News24 reported at the time

Suzette Barnard found the body of her daughter in a house on a smallholding in Benoni, where the victim and her mother had lived.

Chantelle had gone there to give her mother keys. The last anyone had heard of her was around noon on 1 April that year.

Her family started searching for her when she did not answer her cellphone and a neighbour later reported that they had heard
someone screaming on the smallholding in the afternoon. Suzette went to the
smallholding and banged on the doors until the caretaker opened them for her.
She asked Vandekeere, who is the caretaker’s son, to remove bandages from his hand and said she could see a bite mark.

A blanket was lying in a pool of blood in the
lounge. She ran through the house and found her daughter’s body in one of the bedrooms. She told Beeld newspaper at the it appeared that the body had been bathed.

“Chantelle was lying naked on the floor and I
could only see the right side of her face. There was not even a drop of blood
on her body but her hair was wet and a container with make-up was next to her
body.”

Suzette Barnard told The Star newspaper: “She was so cold and the cut to her throat was so deep. She looked like a porcelain
doll, soft and peaceful on the one side, [but] on the other side of her face it
was blue.”

Vandekeere, then 33, was then arrested and appeared in the Benoni Magistrate’s Court.

After he was granted bail in 2013, Vandekeere fled and had been on the run for seven years until he handed himself over to police in January this year, Netwerk24 reported.

On Monday, Vandekeere reportedly pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice.

The trial continues.


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