Cape Town – Two teenagers who are known to the family of murdered Janika Mello appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The two have been charged with the brutal rape and murder of the 14-year-old teen from Heinz Park, whose body was found in her backyard on 1 September.
The half-naked girl was found lying among broken furniture, rubble and several condoms with a bloody concrete block next to her.
She had been bashed beyond recognition and her mother only identify her by her shoes.
A neighbour had noticed the body from his bedroom window and alerted the family.
Her mother, Janine Mello, 29, previously said one of the accused, Alistair Abrahams, 18, was her cousin’s child, but Janika’s father, Marlon Koopman, 38, on Monday said the boy was not a biological relative.
“Janine’s family member dated his (Abrahams) father, so there are no blood ties,” he said.
On Monday was the first day Janine and Marlon were allowed inside the juvenile court to sit in on proceedings.
Both suspects are currently in custody after bail was denied for the 16-year-old. Abrahams did not apply for bail.
Abrahams’ mother, Susan, was not allowed in court as her son is an adult.
She sat crying outside holding her two-year-old daughter.
Susan says she did not raise her child to be a killer.
“I knew Janika and I know Alistair. My child did not hurt her. The police came to take him and I have not spoken to him. I don’t believe he was part of it,” Susan said in tears.
As the court door opened, those outside caught a glimpse of the accused and when Susan’s daughter saw Abrahams, she started crying and screaming “boeta, boeta”.
The minor had a thick bandage on his right hand and looked sick, while Abrahams looked scared.
According to Janika’s grandma, Pauline Butler, they have spoken to the detective who said the accused are not talking.
But, she says when they were caught, one teen had blood on his clothes from when the other had allegedly smashed the concrete slab on Janika’s head.
The family also said cops had told them that no semen was present in the condoms found on the scene.
After court, Janika’s father Marlon said the matter had been postponed to 21 January.
“The forensic tests need to be completed and hopefully we go to High Court for the trial.
“We are grateful for the support and hope to see those responsible for my child’s death punished,” Marlon said.
Janika, a Grade 6 pupil, went to a karaoke party at Portlands High in Mitchells Plain to support a local soccer club on 31 August.
She was found dead in her backyard the following morning.