Sandy Staats, 68, tortured to death with boiling water


Why are white crime victims tortured so often?

Sandy Staats, 68, ‘screamed and screamed’ while boiling water was poured over her  body by black home-invader Sibusiso Phakhati on March 20 2008– testimony


Johannesburg High Court. 2008-03-19 ‘Every time the black man poured boiling water across her friend Sandy Staats, lying right next to her, the boiling water-drops spattered across her skin too and her friend just screamed and screamed’ , testified Mrs Sanet Janse van Rensburg, 29, about the horrific night when she and murdered Craighall Park homeowner Mrs Sandy Staats, 68, were tortured by three black home invaders on the early-evening of 20 March 2007. Nothing was robbed during the murder-turture of Mrs Staats, yet police insist it was ‘an ordinary house-robbery’.


The murder attack against Mrs Staats was the third at the luxury Bryanston street where convicted drug dealer and mafia-kingpin Glenn Agliotti ‘s family were also held up and tortured in 2007: Agliotti’s family was attacked in 2007 and tortured for three hours. His teenage daughter was sexually molested and his former wife was brutally beaten-up. And another woman also was tortured extensively with a hot iron.


On trial in the Johannesburg High Court this week is co-accused murderer Sibusiso Phakhati, 34, who pleaded not guilty.  However his co-accused comrade, Isaacs Mako, 45, admitted guilt to the horrific torture-murder earlier this year and was sentenced to a lifetime in prison. Mrs Staats was tortured for hours with boiling water which caused 60% burn-wounds across her body. She died of organ-failure ten days later in Baragwanath hospital, Soweto.

Yesterday the slender Ms Janse van Rensburg testified about the way her friend Sandy Staats was tortured with boiling water poured across her body straight from the kettle.

The younger woman had arrived at her friend Sandy Staat’s s home early in the evening of March 20 2007. After a chat in the living room the two women went to the bathroom where the younger woman applied make-up – she was planning to go out with a girlfriend. Mrs Staats readied herself for bed. Just then three black men, one armed with a knife, entered the bathroom and forced the women to lie down on the floor. The men started choking them, she testified. “I struggled to breathe.’

“ Aggression escalated, they bent Sandy’s limbs into unnatural positions, burnt her with cigarettes…’

  • Both white women then were tied up with electric wires, their mouths were covered over with rags and they were roughly dragged to Mrs Staats’ bedroom. “There the aggression by the men escalated,’ testified Ms Janse van Rensburg. “They burnt Sandy with burning cigarettes and twisted her legs and arms into unnatural positions so that she screamed in agony.

“Sandy just screamed and screamed each time the boiling water was poured across her body..”

The accused man, Phakhati, then fetched a kettle with water from the kitchen, and plugged it into the wall ‘just a few metres away from me,’  she testified. “As soon as the water came to a boil he would pour the contents all over Mrs Staats. “It (the kettle) was so close too me that the boiling water spattered across my skin each timehe poured it across Sandy, and she just screamed and screamed…’

Mako, now in prison, told Ms Janse van Rensburg  that ‘he didn’t feel right about the torture, but he nevertheless did nothing to intervene,’ she testified.

After a long time of this torture, she suddenly heard a gunshut and police officers stormed into the room. “By that time Sandy was shaking terribly, her hands were covered in pink boils and her entire body except her face was burnt terribly.’ She was immediately rushed to the large hospital in Soweto, the Baragwanath hospital for an attempt to treat her. But she succumbed ten days later with 60% burn wounds.

Besides the horrific mental trauma from having to witness her friend’s torture, Ms Janse van Rensburg did not suffer physical injuries, she testified.