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Three convictions secured in Betty Ketani murder trial

17 years after she was murdered, three men have been found guilty of killing Betty Ketani.

Betty Ketani
Betty Ketani,Betty Ketani cold case,Betty Ketani murder trial,Betty Ketani murder case
Local

JOHANNESBURG – Three men have been found guilty of the murder of Betty Ketani, 17 years after committing the crime.

Two years ago - to the day – the Ketani murder trial began. 

Carrington Laughton and two policemen brothers, Carel and David Ranger, were convicted of murder, culpable homicide and kidnapping a short while ago. 

The judge in the trial found that Laughton authored a confession found under a carpet in a Johannesburg house almost four years ago.
 
Ketani’s family was present in court for judgment.

Earlier today, Judge Natvarlal Ranchod summarised the 13 days Laughton, the alleged author of the confession, spent testifying before moving onto the crucial DNA evidence.

Judge Ranchod accepted the State’s evidence, which links six bones to Betty Ketani’s family, but was critical of defence DNA expert David Swanepoel.

“He conceded under cross examination that his title, namely ‘human identification specialist’, is one he bestowed upon himself together with colleagues,” said Ranchod. 

The judge found that Swanepoel did not conduct a proper investigation and gave opinions not backed by science.

DNA tests conducted overseas played a big role in this trial – as did handwriting analysis – and the evidence of the State’s three accomplice witnesses.

“The State has presented a formidable case against the three accused. From the evidence, this court is satisfied that exhibit G [the letter], is genuine and that its author is accused one [Loughton],” added Ranchod.

After the judgment, there were tears outside court as prosecutors and the investigating officer hugged Ketani’s brother and eldest daughter.

Dirk Reinecke, one of the accused at the beginning of the trial, struck a deal with prosecutors and turned State witness.

While in the dock, over a year ago,  Reinecke testified about how Ketani was kidnapped and interrogated in a hotel room just days before she disappeared.

He said he introduced Laughton to the restaurant owner’s daughter, Monique Neeteson-Lemkes, who wanted some thefts investigated.

Reinecke said the atmosphere was tense and both he and Laughton were soon convinced the deceased was innocent, but Neeteson-Lemkes wanted more time to question her.

He also told the court that Laughton asked him to deliver a duffel bag containing the confession to Brown.

It was in Brown’s home that the letter was found. 

(Edited by Tamsin Wort & Masechaba Sefularo)

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