Knifeman who massacred Bijkersma family gets life

Worker who massacred Dutch-Frisian immigrant family Bijkersma/Wouda family gets life

2011-03-15 PRETORIA HIGH COURT. The ‘disgruntled worker’ who knifed to death Dutch immigrant-family Douwe Gezinus Bijkersma (57), his wheelchair-bound wife Hendrika Johanna (57), her carer Ms Gelske Afke Wouda (40) and slashed the throat of grandmother Johanna Barendina Durieux, 87, on May 1 2008 in Florida, Roodepoort, was sentenced  to a lifetime in prison. Mrs Durieux died of her injuries and trauma on July 24 2008, three months later.

Their former gardener/chauffeur Stephanus Modise, 35, who pleaded not guilty, was found guilty of carrying out the entire family-massacre with a knife: Mr Bijkersma was stabbed 28 times, his wife five times, Ms Wouda nine times – and  Mrs Durieux sustained three knife wounds across her throat. Her grandson, the opera-singer Douwe Bijkersma junior, (picture below from his Face book page) testified that his grandmother remained very traumatised after the massacre. She died from the injuries and shock three months afterwards. “She suffered much pain and would often wake up screaming at night, asking for her murdered daughter”. He also remains so traumatised himself that he gets upset every time he sees someone in a wheelchair at venues where he performs. His murdered mother had lost the use of her legs due to arthritis and cancer.  (source; Janice Keogh, Beeld).

Bijkersma Wouda DutchFrisian family 3 members massacred May12008 Caption: An earlier family picture of the devoutly Protestant Dutch/Fresian family which was split apart by the massacre at their home in Roodepoort, South Africa: ltr: surviving opera-singer son Douwe Jr. (1983-), murdered father Douwe Gezinus Bijkersma (lecturer at Pretoria Technical College (1950- May 1 2008), surviving daughter Hendrika Johanna (Anneke) (1976), murdered disabled matriarch Hendrika Johanna (Hettie) (1950-May 1 2008), survivor Jan (1977), survivor Hiltje (1979). Son Douwe, a baritone opera-singer, still managed to sing in his debut as Dr Malatesta in Donizetti’s opera Don Pasquale in the Pretoria Opera House a few weeks after the traumatic experience. The four victims also included the grandmother Johanna Durieux and caregiver Mrs Gelske Wouda, 40 – who suffered ‘numerous stab wounds’ and were found badly mutilated with their throats cut, family members said. Mrs Durieux, 87, survived for another two months. http://www.salonmusic.co.za/aandante%2002.htm http://www.bijkersma.com/stamboom/Fam_262.htm

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Bijkersma Douwe Baritone Operasinger South Africa family massacre tragedy Children Jan and Hiltje discovered their murdered parents, their Dutch carer and their grandmother when they returned to their Florida North home on May 2 after holidaying at Sabie in Mpumalanga.  During sentencing by judge Jeffrey Mathabata, the former gardener/chauffeur Modise showed no emotion. The testimony in court was that Modise had worked for the Bijkersma family for two years. He lived for free in a cottage on their erf, received a good salary and shared the family meals each day. Mrs Bijkersma was also arranging for him to take up a study-course and often prayed with him. Eldest daughter Anneke Bijkersma testified that Modise and her parents ‘initially had a good relationship and my mother trusted him’. However when Modise demanded a larger salary, which the Bijkersma family could not afford, he became ‘aggressive’. When this continued the family gave him six months’ legal notice to find another job – and after he was fired in January 2007 because of abusive behaviour towards the sheelchair-bound woman, he also lost his case at the Commission for Arbitration and Reconciliation: which nevertheless ordered the Bijkema family to pay him R4,000 in compensation. The state claimed at his trial that Modise had slaughtered the family in revenge. Public prosecutor Advocate Evidence Riba said ‘should everybody who are not satisfied with court decisions now go and and murder people?” Judge Jeffrey Mathabata sentenced Stephanus Modise to a lifetime in prison.The family members and friends who had attended the sentencing, embraced each other afterwards. Said Mrs Minx Millar, the opera singer’s other sister: “I am just happy it’s all over now.’  http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Werker-wat-3-in-huis-uit-wraak-doodsteek-gevonnis-20110315  Dutch community in SA: http://www.facebook.com/DutchinCapeTown?sk=wall

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

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