Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

'I Don't Want to Die'


Inspector Jonathan Morris, the investigating officer, showed many photographs of suspected and convicted offenders to Quinton. There was a 12-year-old photo of one man whom he immediately recognized.

It was the man who had slit his throat and later shot him in the head.

Insp. Morris took the photo to the Criminal Records Centre and discovered that the man was Trevor Basil Theys. He was the owner of a 7.65 mm pistol. Empty cartridges recovered from the crime scene were of two calibers7.65 and 9 mm.

The detectives went to Theys sister-in-law and then to his ex-wife, from whom they obtained his current address in Mitchells Plain, a town about 14 miles from Cape Town. At 5 a.m. on February 13, the 42-year-old man was arrested. He bore a striking resemblance to the identikit of the colored male.

Trevor Theys in custody
Trevor Theys in custody
Insp. Morris interrogated Theys at Serious and Violent Crimes headquarters in Bishop Lavis, and after about an hour, he confessed. Later he made a full confession before a magistrate (which carries more weight legally in South Africa). Theys also implicated an accomplice, a 26-year-old white man named Adam Roy Woest. Woest was working as a waiter at a popular restaurant at the V&A Waterfront, an up market shopping complex with hotels and other tourist attractions, where he was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. He, too, made a full confession before a magistrate on Friday morning. Both men claimed that robbery had been the sole motive behind the attack. Police also seized a white BMW, believed to have been used on the night of the murders. The vehicle was borrowed from a third party, who had had no knowledge of the crime.

Adam Woest
Adam Woest
Director André du Toit, Western Cape Head of Detectives, told the Cape Times that the police had been under so much pressure with this case, you have no idea the kind of relief I am feeling right now. Owners of other gay massage parlors were also relieved, saying that business was picking up again after the arrests became known.

During the next couple of days, some disturbing information came to light. Woest lived in the Bordeaux apartment complex, across the street from Sizzlers, and his apartment had a clear view of the house at 7 Graham Road. More troubling was the fact, confirmed by his live-in fiancée, that some of the masseurs had frequented a restaurant where she and Woest had worked in the past. It was here, apparently, that he had overheard one of the masseurs saying that there was a substantial amount of cash at Sizzlers.

Detectives and 120 recruits from the Saldanha Naval Base spent their Sunday scouring a 6-mile stretch of earth next to the N1 national road for the two pistols used in the massacre. Theys told the detectives that he had driven along the N1 towards the town of Worcester, dismantling the pistols and throwing the pieces out of his window. Their search bore no fruit in terms of firearms, but they did find a cell phone which might have belonged to one of the victims.

The next day, February 17, the two men were brought to the Cape Town magistrates court in shackles, their faces hidden beneath balaclavas. The latter was necessary to protect the lawfulness of the upcoming identification parade. As would become characteristic during the trial, which would finally begin a little less than a year later, the courtroom was packed. Theys appeared nervous and clenched his fists, while Woest stared expressionlessly as the charges were read against them: nine counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and one count of the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. Then they were taken to the Goodwood Prison.

Goodwood Prison
Goodwood Prison

This was to be the first of numerous visits to the magistrates court. On February 25, their respective legal representativeswho would also change a number of times over the coming monthstold the court that the two men had received death threats from their fellow inmates. It was ordered that they be detained in single cells.

The identity parade was to be held on February 28, but police failed to acquire enough men of appropriate build, age and color to appear alongside the accused. On March 4, the parade was finally held. Quinton Taylor and a client who had arrived at Sizzlers on the night of the murders and had been shown away by one of the killers, faced twenty men. Despite being behind one-way glass, the client felt intimidated, and failed to identify anyone, but Quinton identified Woest and Theys without any difficulty.

On March 6, defense counsel conveyed their clients distress because the police were no longer providing the balaclavas en route to the court and news photographers were taking their pictures. Woest was apparently the most upset. It was argued that the two mens families may be put at risk as a result. The magistrate replied that the court was a public forum and anonymity could not be enforced.

Many appearances in the magistrates court followed, to deal with various issues, until, finally, on August 6, a trial date was set. The accused would stand trial in the Cape High Court on February 2, 2004. Meanwhile, they would be transferred to Pollsmoor Prison.

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