Ghostly shape of gun gives killer away

SON WHO SHOT ‘ABUSIVE’ MOTHER NAILED BY CHANCE DISCOVERY IN BOOT OF CAR

SUNDAY TIMES

Reporter – Jeanne van der Merwe

SIMON Marais told police he found his dead mother, Anita, in a pool of blood after what appeared to be a botched robbery. But a twist in an investigation that seemed doomed to remain unsolved revealed that marais himself was the killer. Anita Marais, a mother of four who was in her 50′s, was shot in the chest five times and left bleeding to death in the bedroom of her Ruyterwacht home on November 8, 2000. There was no sign of the murder weapon. Marais told police that his fi-fi and CDs had been moved, suggesting an attempted robbery. But, six months later, Marais’s uncle accidentally unmasked him as the killer while trying to disconnect the battery in the boot of marais’s whie Mini. “A sports bag was lying on the battery. I saw an ice cream tub inside. I called my wife and told her there’s something wrong here,” Leon Barnard told the parow Regional Court. “There was cement in the ice cream tub and cracks in the shape of a revolver in the cement. “I called the police and Inspector Talmakkies [the investigating officer] said I must open it. “Chipping away the cement revealed the murder weapon, which was ballistically linked to the bullets in Anita Marais’s body. A sobbing Marais was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the crime this week after his attorney claimed the recently married murderer had been subjected to a lifetime of emotional abuse by the victim. In a statement that Marais, now 24, made after the gun was found, he said: “I shot my mother dead. There was an argument between us in the house. I took her firearm out of the cupboard at her bedside and shot her dead with it. I don’t know how many shots I fired.” After I shot her I went to the Elsies River Police Station and told them I found her at home, dead. I hid my mother’s firearm. “The court heard that Marais and his mother had been arguing because he did not have a job. During the trial, Marais’s attorney, Ben Mathewson, tried to stop court proceedings by claiming that Marais’s privacy had been invaded when Barnard took the gun from the bag in his boot. He also claimed Marais’s rights had not been adequately explained to him. Magistrate Marius Marais rejected the claims and convcted Marais of murder. In a plea of clemency, Mathewson argued that Marais had been the youngster of four children and that his mother had subjected him to a lifetime of emotional abuse. On Monday, Marais’s sister, also called Anita, testified that “nothing we did was ever good enough” and that their mother insulted them relentlessly. “My mother had a terrible temper. When she and my father were still married, she would break glass doors and then force us to go to the neighbours to phone the police to have my father arrested. “She stole money from my father’s butchery. She never had anything good to say to any of us,” she said while her brother stood sobbing in the dock. “We would never have dared to bring friends home.” One night Simon stayed out too late with one of his friends and my mother walked down the road screaming Simon was a ‘moffie’ and that he s*** in his pants. “But while the magistrate conceded that Marais had been provoked, he said the crime was shockingly serious”. “You shot your own mother dead. You shot her five times, and when one looks at the circumstances objectively, it was for a mere trifle – because she entered into an argument with you. You could have walked away. “If it weren’t for Mr Barnard, this crime would probably have remained unsolved,” Marais said.