Dutch fingerprint expert Arie Zeelenberg testifies for Fred Vd Vyver

Dutch fingerprint expert Arie Zeelenberg to testify in high-profile SA murder case

CAPE HIGH COURT, CAPE TOWN, South Africa. Fred van der Vyver, the actuary son of a wealthy Afrikaner family who was found not guilty of the murder of honours-student Inge Lotz’ on 16 March 2005, is suing the SA Police Minister for R46million. An impressive array of top forensic-experts has been called in to help prove his case against the SAPS – including the former head of the Dutch National Police force fingerprint department and author of expert-books on the subject, Arie Zeelenberg

Lotz Inge Stellenbosch Student murdered June 2005 sensational murder trial VdVyver acquitted Picture: Master’s degree student Inge Lotz: who really bludgeoned her to death in her Stellenbosch student flat on March 16 2005? The judge, when finding her boyfriend Fred van der Vyver not guilty of the murder, said in his summary after acquitting the young man in court that  ‘it was the most botched-up police investigation I have ever seen in my entire career’… The case  was described in the best-seller “Fruit of a Poisoned Tree’ by award-winning author Antony Altbeker, who attended the entire trial.


According to Fred Van der Vyver ‘s legal team –  in their submission to the Cape High Court on Thursday –  the SAPS investigators in the Lotz murder case had ‘deliberately provided falsified information to the state-prosecution and had also withheld vital evidence”.

VanDerVyver_Fred_FalselyAccusedKillingIngeLotzSuingPOLICE MINISTERPicture:  The murdered woman’s boyfriend Fred van der Vyver was found not guilty of killing her and is now suing the SA Minister of Police for R46-million for his ‘illegal prosecution”, bringing an impressive array of top forensic experts to South Africa to help prove his case… The case has attracted the attention of the world’s largest association of professional forensic investigators, the International Association for Identification (IAI).


On the first day of the trial, the court heard that the SAPS investigators had deliberately provided false information in 2007 to force the State to arrest and try Van der Vyver. Ms Lotz, a promising master’s degree student at the University of Stellenbosch, was found murdered in her apartment in the university town  on 16 March 2005. The Afrikaans student had been bludgeoned to death on the sofa in her flat. The brutal murder caused immediate shock and revulsion in the Afrikaner-community countrywide – and the shock-arrest and trial of her wealthy boyfriend created ripples worldwide when he was acquitted and it became known that much of the police-investigations’ evidence against him had been fabricated and that witnesses had been intimidated. At the time of her death, Inge was in a steady relationship with 25-year-old Fred van der Vyver. They had started dating a year earlier when they were both full-time students.

One of Van der Vyver’s legal representatives, Dup de Bruyn, on Friday told Cape high court judge Anton Veldhuizen that evidence will be presented to show that the police-investigators made ‘deliberately misleading and false statements. Facts were also withheld which could have ended Van der Vyver’s prosecution at once,’ De Bruyn said. “Investigating officers deliberately contributed to the prosecution by deliberately providing false information..’

  • Among the expert-witnesses drawn in for the case by Van der Vyver’s legal team are Dutch fingerprint expert Arie Zeelenberg; Mr William Bodziak, an American forensic expert in footprints and Prof Gert Saayman, a South African medical forensic expert.The case was described in great detail in “Fruit of a Poisoned Tree’, a best-seller by author Antony Altbeker.

In June 2005, Fred van der Vyver, a young actuary and the son of a wealthy Eastern Cape farming family, was arrested and charged with murdering his girlfriend, allegedly bludgeoning her to death with a hammer as she lay on a couch in her lounge. The case against Van der Vyver seemed overwhelming, wrote Altbeker in his book: “His behaviour at the time of the murder ‘appeared suspicious and incriminating’-  and a letter, penned by Inge on the morning of her death, suggested that the two had been fighting… ” Moreover, it was ‘the forensic evidence that seemed to prove his guilt: his fingerprints were found at the scene, one of his shoes was matched to a blood stain on the bathroom floor, and traces of blood were found on an ornamental hammer that had been given to him by the victim’s parents.”

  • However, wrote Altbeker, ‘ in one of the most sensational and controversial murder trials in South African legal history, Van der Vyver’s lawyers sought to turn the tables on the police, accusing them of fabricating evidence and lying to the judge.”

SA Police Superintendent Bruce Bartholomew had testified in Van der Vyver’s failed murder trial that ‘a bloody mark found on the bathroom floor of Lotz’s flat was made by one of Van der Vyver’s shoes’. He had also told the court that he ‘had visited renowned shoeprint expert William Bodziak at his home in Florida USA for advice” and that ” Bodziak had agreed with his findings”. However this evidence was refuted when Van der Vyver’s team then called Bodziak as an expert witness. Bodziak told the court during the murder trial that ‘he had never agreed with Bartholomew and had been shocked and amazed at the lies told to the court.” Judge Van Zyl said in his summary when finding Fred Van der Vyver not guilty that ‘it was the shoddiest police investigation he had ever seen in his career’:  “Superintendent Bartholomew gave evidence which was untrustworthy and overall tainted by the serious misleading allegations which he made regarding his visit to Mr Bodziak.”http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/forensic-in-lotz-murder-trial-criticised-1.318676?ot=inmsa.ArticlePrintPageLayout.ot

Private detective Niel van Heerden of the firm George Fivaz and Associates also laid charges of obstruction of justice and perjury against the SA Police’s investigators in the Lotz murder case – testifying that their team of private investigators had obtained independent statements from witnesses showing that at least six suspects, local people with known criminal backgrounds, had been near Lotz’s apartment and that three of them had entered the flat on the day of her death – one person was an acquaintance of hers. “We had reason to believe their motive was to get money for drugs. All six were known to us and most of them are in jail at the moment waiting to appear on similar charges of murder, robbery and drug dealing,” Van Heerden was quoted as saying.
ne of their witnesses was also visited in jail by two police officers investigating the Lotz case, shortly after Van der Vyver was charged and told to “change his story” or face the ‘consequences’… “We know who killed Inge Lotz

  The outcome of the trial was rejected by the family of Inge Lotz, who have only recently withdrawn a law suit against him.  Van der Vyver, in turn, is now suing the Minister of Police — alleging that all the evidence against him was fabricated by detectives. http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Inge-Lotz-cops-lied-court-told-20101111

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

One Response to Dutch fingerprint expert Arie Zeelenberg testifies for Fred Vd Vyver

  1. paulfookes says:

    Suing the SA police minister? Who will run out of money first? I wish Fred Vd Vyver well, but the SA govt will stack the deck in their favour.

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