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Betty Ketani's family happy with court ruling

Three men were convicted of kidnapping and murdering Ketani some 17 years after she vanished.

FILE: State witness and investigating officer in the Betty Ketani murder trial, captain Gerhard van Wyk. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Betty Ketani's daughter has told Eyewitness News , with her mother's killers finally convicted, her family can focus of bringing her spirit home to the Eastern Cape.

Yesterday, Carrington Laughton and two policemen brothers, Carel and David Ranger, were convicted of murder, culpable homicide and kidnapping.

The case was solved only after the discovery of a confession letter hidden under a carpet in early 2012.

Ketani's daughter Bulelwa said her family is relieved.

She said she is deeply grateful to the prosecutors in the case and the police officer who conducted the investigation, Captain Gerhard van Wyk.

"I was so happy and thanking all the people who supported us, who continued dealing with this investigation. And also Mr. Van Wyk, I didn't know what to say to him, I just cried and I was very happy."

Lead prosecutor Herman Broodryk, who worked with advocate Namika Kowlas, said this was a once in a lifetime case.

"In a 34-year plus career as a prosecutor, this must have been the most difficult case I've ever did."

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 linked six bones to 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 David 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.

Sentencing is expected in May.

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