“DON’T you think Gert has dead children here?” This inscription on the gate of 227 Malherbe Street in Capital Park, Pretoria, is a grim reminder of previous owner Gert van Rooyen, who, with his girlfriend, abducted and murdered six girls, aged between 11 and 14, in the late 1980s.
Today marks 25 years since Van Rooyen shot girlfriend Francinah “Joey” Haarhoff and then himself dead as they were cornered by police near their home – dubbed the “House of Horrors” – in 1990.
The house had been under surveillance after police were alerted by Joan Booysen, then aged 16, who had escaped from the house where she had been handcuffed, drugged and stuck in a cupboard.
Blue and yellow children’s handprints on the gate of the derelict property act as colourful symbols of the victims, whose bodies have yet to be found.
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