Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

'I Don't Want to Die'


So what happened on the night of January 20, 2003? The confessions made by Adam Woest and Trevor Theys after their arrests, as printed in their entirety in the Cape Times, help piece things together.

Theys went to the restaurant on a number of occasions during 2002 and became friends with Woest, who was a manager there. At some point, Woest told him that he had overheard one of the masseurs drunkenly mention that a large amount of money, between R150000 (approx. $US25,424) and R200,000 (approx. $US33,898) was kept on the premises. According to Theys, Woest said that it would be easy to rob the massage parlor, and Theys (jokingly) agreed. Woest said that Theys should be able to obtain firearms relatively easily in a township since he was colored. Woest apparently queried about Theys progress in this regard on a number of occasions. Finally, after Theys girlfriend had an affair, he decided to take his own pistol as well as his brothers 9-mm Norinco, and call Woest. He said they could rob Sizzlers that night.

Woests version is basically the inverse. Here Theys was the one who wanted to rob Sizzlers and Woest regarded it as a joke. When Theys said he was serious, Woest declined. But then Theys referred to Woests fiancée being hit by a car some time previously, which Woest understood to be a threat. Woest later told Dr Ashraf Jedaar, the psychiatrist, that he did not need the money, earning about R10,000 (approx. $US1,695) per month, but Theys had required it for his taxi business.

On the night of the murders, Woest phoned Sizzlers to make a midnight appointment for himself and Theys. They purchased a little more than half a gallon of petrol at a station and acquired washing line from Woests flat. They also took the pistols and knife Theys had obtained, duct tape, balaclavas and latex gloves. They stopped the rented BMW in Marais Road, around the corner from Sizzlers, and put on the gloves.

Aubrey Otgaar and some of the masseurs had been cleaning the house when a client, Gregory Berghaus, arrived. He went into one of the studios with Sergio de Castro. The other masseurs retired to the room where they slept to watch a video.

Otgaar came to the gate when Woest and Theys rang the bell and let them in. He took them to Studio 3, and inquired about their preferences. Woest said that he liked blondes. Otgaar sent 17-year-old Stephanus Fouché into the room. According to Theys, this was when Woest took out the pistol and told Stephanus that they were being robbed. Woest preferred to use we in his confession. They were taken to the room where the masseurs slept.

Quinton Taylor, who only recently returned from a holiday at his parents, was lying on top of a double-bunk bed when Otgaar came in, followed by Woest and Theys, who had guns in their hands. They ordered the masseurs to hand over their watches, jewelry and cellular phones. Then Woest ordered them to remove their shoes and to sit around a table. Timothy Boyd was told to tie their hands and feet to the chairs, which he did poorly. The men were told to lie on the floor, face down, in a row. Theys proceeded to tie their wrists and ankles. Otgaar opened two safes and gave the money to Woestless than R2,000 (approx. $US339). Otgaar and Jüan Meyer asked to be tied together, and were, and Quinton refused to lie on his stomach, because if I was going to die, I at least wanted to see it happen. Socks were pushed into their mouths and covered with duct tape. At some point, Sergio and Gregory were discovered in the other studio. Woest tied them, but later said, Im useless at knots.

Quinton managed to push the gag with his tongue so that he was able to ask Theys what was going to happen. Theys promised that no one would be killed.

It was during the period which followed that Quinton recalls Woest making the phone call about someone providing them with a ride. Woest became increasingly agitated and started sweating profusely.

Woest and Theys left the room and apparently went to the kitchen, because upon their return, Woest had one of Otgaars kitchen knives. Theys had the knife he had brought with him. In Woests version, Theys told him that they should cut the men to scare them into giving us more money, according to Independent On-Line on March 3, 2004. In Theys version, Woest told him to cut the mens throats, which I did not want to do. Woest then said they both had to do it. In his confession, Theys stated that he really did not want to do it. But Adam was a bigger man than me. I was fighting for my own life, because Adam said to me that he will get rid of loose ends. So they went back into the room and began to stab the men in the back of their necks and cutting their throats. Woest started from one side and Theys from the other. The men screamed. Quinton stated that Theys, who had cut his throat, did not cut deep enough to kill him. Trevor didnt want to as much as Adam did, he told the court.

Somewhere during all this, Otgaar managed to free himself and attacked the assailants. According to Woest, Theys fought him off, kicked him and stabbed him. Otgaars throat was slashedapparently by Woest, since he admitted to cutting Otgaars throatdeep enough to sever the carotid artery, which propelled blood onto the ceiling.

Woest and Theys went into the passageway to smoke. Quinton could hear Theys telling Woest to relax and calm down.

At some point, the client who later attended the identification lineup, arrived at Sizzlers. He found it peculiar that the security gate was unlocked. After he knocked, a man he had never seen before, whom he later realized was Theys, came to the door and informed him that Sizzlers was closed for business. Theys asked him to leave, pushing him away.

Woest re-entered the room with a bottle of petrol and began sprinkling it on the men and the floor. According to Woest, this was done on Theys orders. The men screamed again, crying and pleading with him not to burn them alive. He never lit it.

Theys remained to watch over the men, while Woest went through the house, apparently looking for the rest of the money he believed was somewhere on the premises. In his confession, Theys stated that he was talking to the men during this time: They asked me whether they were going to die. I promised them that no one will die. Later me and the boys spoke to each other. We were actually laughing and joking. People, of course, do strange things when they are high on fear and adrenaline, but its hard to imagine men with their necks cut open joking with one of the men responsible. Theys made an interesting statement after this, that "Adam was waiting. I dont know for what.

The phone rang on at least one occasion while Woest and Theys were inside the house. Juan Uys, from the apartments across the street, called Otgaar at about 3:30 a.m. The phone was answered, presumably by one of the killers. When he called again 20 minutes later, the line was busy. Police found the phone in Otgaars bedroom streaked with blood.

Meanwhile, Gregory Berghaus managed to get untied. Theys went to look for Woest, and saw Gregory coming out of the room. Theys told him to go back, but Gregory ran to the kitchen, where he attacked Woest. Theys hit him over the head with the pistol and Gregory turned on him. Theys described what happened as follows: The firearm went off and the man fell down. I just stood there. Adam took the gun from me and went to the first room where the boy [Sergio de Castro] was left still tied up. He shot the boy.

Woest described it quite similarly: I have put down my gun a while ago. Trevor took out a gun, hit him [Berghaus] a few times on the head, but he still kept coming. Basically, then the gun went off; I dont know if Trevor did it intentionally. I just went into a dazed state, shocked at what happened, basically. No mention of Sergio, though. And Woest pleaded not guilty to Sergios murder at the trial. Ditto for Gregory Berghaus.

According to Quinton, however, Theys was with them when four shots went off elsewhere in the house. He believes that Woest was alone when Gregory and Sergio were shot.

Theys described how Woest then turned to him, telling him that it was too late, that we have to shoot them. Woest told him to start from one side, while Woest would start from the other. Theys stated that he felt compelled because I was scared and fearing for my own life. I am not that bad a person. I was scared to die. Woest pulled the trigger first. Theys shot four of the men.

Woest managed to condense the murder of eight men into one sentence: At that point, I still recall Trevor putting the gun in my hand and said lets go, and then we basically went in and shot everybody else. No further mention.

The men lay in a row on the floor. Woest started on the right end and Theys on the left, shooting the men in the back of their heads. Sit back, close your eyes and imagine this scene for a while. Think about actually doing it. See the bound and bleeding men. Hear their screams and pleas. Smell their blood and their fear.

Quinton described how Woest and Theys re-entered the room, and without saying a word, simply began executing the men. Theys was standing about six feet from Quinton when he shot him. The first bullet entered his skull next to his left ear, tunneling all the way to his jaw. Quinton lost consciousness, but was shot a second time. This bullet entered his head just above the hairline, traveling between his brain and skull into his neck.

Woest and Theys put on the balaclavas, left the house and ran to the BMW. They drove around, throwing the masks and gloves from the car somewhere along the way. They ended up in Bellville, a suburb of Cape Town, stopping at a place in Voortrekker Road. Here, according to Woest, they went to the bathroom, puked our guts out, washed my face with water. Then they had some sodas. Later, Woest took a taxi home, got some new clothes on, the old ones let me feel very dirty. Theys drove on the N1, buying new clothes in Paarl, driving on, through the Huguenot Tunnel, past Worcester. Here he dismantled the pistols, throwing them from the window as he drove. Before he got to Beaufort West, which is about 350 miles from Cape Town, he finally turned back.

Quinton regained consciousness not too long after the murderers had fled. He managed to free his hands and ankles, and staggered to the bathroom. Here he discovered Gregory Berghaus, drenched in blood. He sat on the bed in Otgaars room for a while and then left the house, somehow managing to make it to the Total petrol station, where he collapsed.

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