Prinsloo apologises to country, victims
“I WANT to apologise to my country, as I had shamed it. Also to Belarus, as this is a good country. And to the victims and the bank,” Dirk Prinsloo yesterday said in the Baranovichi High Court.
He denied all the other allegations against him, but “partly admitted guilt” for the bank robbery on June 10 last year, an acceptable plea in Belarus.
“I was not myself at that time. It is not my habit to rob banks. I became desperate due to my financial situation. My mental state fluctuated like a rollercoaster. At times I thought of robbing a bank, and then I came to my senses again,” he explained.
The final straw, according to Prinsloo, was when Tatiana Leshko, the mother of his daughter and apparently the one girlfriend he still cared for, came to him the day before the robbery with the baby.
“There were holes in Tatiana’s shoes. This cut my heart,” he said.
Prinsloo said he was a wealthy man in South Africa.
“And I could not even buy summer shoes for Ksenia (his daughter),” he said.
He had a tool bag with a gas bottle, metal rod and cutters in it. The ski-mask he had brought from South Africa. The toy gun was bought when he was considering robbing a bank.
The next day Leshko called him, saying there was no money.
“I found myself walking into the bank. I remember closing the door with an iron bar. I cut the wires, thinking it was the alarm. It was the electricity wires and yes, I was shocked by the electricity,” he said.
He said his original plan was to place a paper demanding money in front of a cashier, as it would cause the least harm, but his plan went wrong.
“I heard footsteps. I took the plastic pistol and pointed it at her (a bank employee). I was hoping she would stay quiet so that I could take her to the rest of the people,” he said.
However, the woman fell, hitting herself against the wall apparently becoming unconscious, Prinsloo said.
He had to drag her to the reception area, as she was too heavy to carry.
Everyone was shouting and running. Prinsloo’s aim was a white walk-in safe. As he wanted to get everyone together, he shouted at the women, but said there was no reaction, as they were “petrified”.
He testified how he “accidentally” hit one of the women, as he jumped over a bench.
When one told him they did not have the keys to the depository, Prinsloo said he had “zero” idea that this was where the safe was.
In the commotion, he realised one of the women was covered in blood.
“At that moment I came to my senses. It shocked me what I was doing. I took my bag and just left,” he said.
He told the court that he only wanted a few thousand roubles to give to Tatiana. Then he would hand himself over to the Spanish embassy.
“I know their law. It is very reasonable in relation to the charges I am charged with in South Africa,” he said.
Referring to the expensive necklace one of his former girlfriends, Svetlana Vasily claimed he had stolen, Prinsloo said he had bought it in South Africa for Cezanne Visser.
When he went to Moscow, Russia, the last time, he tried to sell the necklace.
Prinsloo also denied abusing another girlfriend, known as Anastasia, or threatening to kill her. He said she knew he was wanted by Interpol, so she had power over him.
As he claimed all the women were lying to the court, as the police had influenced them, Judge Vasily Petriv asked him about one of his own statements to the police.
Prinsloo said he was tortured. The court ordered an investigation into these claims.
OUSTED: A handcuffed Dirk Prinsloo after his removal from court.