In a sequel to the 2016 Krugersdorp murders, the main suspect who was cleared of any wrongdoing after nearly three months in custody is suing the police for more than R3million in damages.
Fabian Luff, 36, told the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that he had nothing to do with the killings, yet he was arrested on various charges, including three of premeditated murder.
The police arrested him on June 2, 2016, in connection with the murders of insurance brokers Anthony Scholefield and Kevin McAlpine, and estate agent Hanlie Lategan.
The trio were killed in May that year under similar circumstances.
They were all robbed and strangled.
The arrest of Luff, who was initially accused no 2, came after that of Christiaan Kruger, who made a “confession” which implicated Luff as the killer.
Kruger, however, said he was forced by the police to make the confession, implicating Luff.
All charges were withdrawn against Luff in August 2016.
Three of the killers linked with the murder spree were handed multiple-life sentences last year in the high court in Joburg.
They are Cecilia Steyn, her daughter Marcel Steyn and Zak Valentine. They were convicted on numerous charges, including 11 murders committed between 2012 and 2016.
Luff told the court that the police acted with malice and without reasonable cause when they arrested him for something he knew nothing about.
He said in spite of his innocence, the police ensured that he did not get bail as they presented the fabricated confession made by Kruger to the court.
Luff, who still lives in Krugersdorp, said his time in jail was harrowing, and it was humiliating and degrading to have been accused of something he did not do.
One of the officers who instigated the arrest, Brigadier JJH Victor, testified that the community was up in arms after the bodies of Scholefield and McAlpine were found.
Both were strangled and found in the boot of their cars wrapped in plastic.
Kruger was first to be arrested after it was established that his cellphone was used to phone McAlpine. He in turn said his phone was used by Luff. Kruger later made a “confession” which led to Luff’s arrest.
Victor said Luff then became their main suspect. He also told the court that Luff at first ran away when the police wanted to arrest him.
Kruger testified that he was assaulted and tortured by police into implicating himself as well as Luff. He said he agreed to make a “confession” so that they would leave him in peace. Charges were withdrawn against Kruger in September 2016.
Luff admitted that he did run away from the police when they confronted him, but said he did not know who they were as they wore plain clothes.
Luff said his arrest was wrongful and unlawful and it caused him a great deal of distress and a lot of money in legal fees. His attorney Natasha Brandon said the court had reserved judgment in her client’s damages claim.