Mur­der mys­tery back in court

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - MIKE BEHR

PO­LICE be­lieved the Klein­mond guest house owner they found float­ing half-naked, face down in her bath, in 2012 had died of nat­u­ral causes.

This even though nine fin­ger­nails had been ripped from the hands of the re­tired teacher, Christa Ross, 59.

Her guest house Rossta, in He­un­ingk­loof, was only sealed off as a crime scene af­ter her au­topsy re­vealed the miss­ing nails and that she had been stran­gled.

The in­ves­tiga­tive blun­der was re­vealed a half-decade later at Ross’s in­quest, which be­gan in the Cale­don Mag­is­trate’s Court last week.

The un­solved mur­der rocked Klein­mond, as did the ar­rest al­most a year later of her then 61-year-old hus­band Abra­ham, bet­ter known as Rossie, who was re­leased days later af­ter the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions de­clined to pros­e­cute.

At the time, po­lice the­o­rised that Christa had fought while be­ing stran­gled to death and that her killer ripped out her fin­ger­nails to de­stroy any pos­si­ble DNA ev­i­dence link­ing him to the crime scene. They also be­lieved that she was then dumped in a bath of warm wa­ter to dis­guise her time of death.

Rossie’s al­ibi dur­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion was that he last saw his wife alive when he left the guest house at 3.45am to catch a Joburg flight.

Gans­baai de­tec­tive chief Cap­tain Danie Raut­en­bach ad­mit­ted to the in­quest court that the scene had not been man­aged cor­rectly.

The blun­der also meant that po­lice only checked out cuts and bruises on Rossie’s body six days af­ter the mur­der. He claimed he had sus­tained them a week be­fore his wife’s death.

While ex­am­in­ing lap­tops for ev­i­dence of Rossie or his wife hav­ing an ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair, said Raut­en­bach, foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors found reg­u­lar vis­its to hard-core porn web­sites in the months lead­ing up to the mur­der.

They also found that three months later, Rossie was look­ing for a new life part­ner on the in­ter­net.

Raut­en­bach also re­vealed that he was in pos­ses­sion of a state­ment from a fam­ily friend who al­leged that Rossie told him that Christa had been stran­gled be­fore the po­lice dis­closed that in­for­ma­tion to the fam­ily.

The mo­tive for Christa’s mur­der re­mains a mys­tery. Her hus­band’s ver­sion is jeal­ousy, the court heard. “I have thought about it a lot. A third party came through the slid­ing door. The tar­get was my­self and my wife. Some­one came to mur­der us. From the be­gin­ning there was jeal­ousy about the guest house. I was very lucky I wasn’t there.”

Some fam­ily mem­bers con­sulted a psy­chic. Her readings are ap­par­ently recorded in a state­ment in the po­lice mur­der docket.

They

in­clude un­proven ac­cu­sa­tions that two men, one of them be­lieved to be a for­mer na­tional in­tel­li­gence oper­a­tive, con­spired to mur­der Christa af­ter she dis­cov­ered that they were tied up in some kind of drug deal. Al­though the psy­chic iden­ti­fied them, their names can­not be re­vealed for le­gal rea­sons.

Her read­ing was that one of the men wrapped Christa’s stolen ring worth R30 000 and her nine fin­ger­nails in a sheet and tossed them into the sea some­where be­tween Klein­mond and Cape Town. Mys­te­ri­ously, she could not ex­plain why Christa’s R100 000 ring was left un­touched on her bed­side table where it was ly­ing next to the one stolen.

The in­quest was post­poned un­til Fe­bru­ary next year.

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