'He made me shoot him': woman who wed adoptive dad
Mother of two tells harrowing tale of sexual abuse and torture, in bid to be referred to a psychiatric hospital
“I just could not take another night. I then walked to the lounge and pulled the trigger.”
These were the chilling words of murder accused Cathy van Oudtshoorn, who admitted in the Pretoria High Court yesterday that she had shot dead her adoptive father-turned-husband after allegedly being sexually abused by him since she was nine years old.
Van Oudtshoorn, 31, wept and hid her face as the court heard her application to be referred to the Weskoppies psychiatric hospital to back up her claim that she suffered non-pathological criminal incapacity when she shot her husband, Chris van Oudtshoorn, 58, in their Brakpan home in 2016.The mother of two is accused on five counts: murder, robbery, possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and having intentionally defeated or obstructed the course of justice.
She told a harrowing tale of sexual abuse and torture by Chris, which allegedly began when she was legally adopted by the family at the age of nine.
In a statement, Van Oudtshoorn alleged that Chris had subjected her to threats, the use of various sex toys, pleasure-enhancement pills and foreplay.
“He started touching me on my private parts and would ask me to touch his penis or give him blow jobs.”
She claimed that when she was 13, he broke her virginity “on the TV room couch. I then screamed [but] no one could hear me as I was left alone with him”.She claimed he told her that he was going to get a vasectomy to ensure she did not fall pregnant and “everyone won’t know”. Her statement went on to allege that she was required to give Chris sexual pleasure in different places in the house on a regular basis, or even when they went to the beach. She said she tried to commit suicide because the abuse was affecting her schooling and her life overall.
Van Oudtshoorn’s adoptive mother and Chris’s ex-wife‚ Jorina van Niekerk‚ 55‚ was convicted as an accessory to the murder and jailed. She is serving a five-year sentence.
Van Oudtshoorn said Van Niekerk had left her at home with her abuser as she herself was tired of his deeds. “She went out at night and came home early in the morning.”
At the age of 19 she fell pregnant with her then boyfriend's baby and Chris showed no mercy, she submitted.
“I told him I’m pregnant and he raped me right after. He said that when I turn 21 he will marry me as no one has to give him permission then. In 2007 I gave birth to my baby girl. She was the best thing to ever happen to me,” the court heard.
She recalled that in February 2008 Chris had called her stupid and ugly. “He said now that I am a mother no one will want me.”That same year, three years after Chris and Van Niekerk divorced, she and Chris married.
Van Oudtshoorn said the day of the murder, in April 2016, had begun like any other. She awoke at 5am and prepared breakfast and lunch for him before he left for work. Van Niekerk had come for a visit, which was not unusual. The two dropped off her daughter at school and came back to do chores.
She said Chris had returned from work as usual. “I went to the TV room to tell him that the carrots are almost done and apologised. But he became more and more aggressive. Even though he sat in front of the TV I knew he would hurt me.
“I walked to the safe in the bedroom and got the gun out ... I cannot explain what I was thinking of, I just could not take another night. I then walked to the lounge and pulled the trigger.”
She said she then told her daughter to get in the car as they were heading to the petrol station to get fuel. On her way she began to realise that she had done something, and called Van Niekerk and asked for her to help cover up the shooting.“I asked her to help me. She started opening drawers and got a cloth to wrap the gun ... On the day of the funeral I walked into the church and it was too much for me. Later I took 90 sleeping tablets. I was then taken to the hospital.”
On the day after the funeral, police arrived at her home and asked her and Van Niekerk to come to the Brakpan police station for questioning.
“I was still drowsy and confused. The police officer did not read my rights to me. They slapped me in my face and I told them: ‘I did do it’.”
Van Niekerk’s family members were at court, and told Times Select that what had happened was “not fair”. While Van Oudtshoorn’s statement was being read out, family members murmured in shock. Van Niekerk’s brother wept.
Van Oudtshoorn, who attended court accompanied by a friend, smiled when she entered court carrying her baby, who was born last month. But she became emotional during the day.
The trial continues on Tuesday, when the court is expected to decide if Van Oudtshoorn should be referred for psychiatric treatment.