‘I love you’
Durban – Afrikaans teacher Riekie Lotter, 52, often boasted at school about her children. Even as she lay dying on Saturday afternoon with knife wounds to her chest, she told her children she loved them.
A while later, her husband, Johan Lotter, 53, was strangled in his bed.
On Sunday, police arrested Riekie’s children, Nicolette, 26, and Hardus, 21, a student.
They claimed at first that their parents had been murdered by men wearing balaclavas. But later, they made confessions to the police, along with Nicolette’s boyfriend, Mathew Naidoo, 20.
Shocking details about the murders have surfaced over the past week.
Former music student and bass guitar player Nicolette had met Mathew 15 months ago at a Christian event.
He had called himself the “third son of God” and convinced the two Lotter children that God and his angels talked to him. The three of them often had Bible study together.
Johan, the manager of a chemical plant, was unhappy about his daughter seeing Naidoo. For a while, he banned Naidoo from the house.
It is suspected that this, as well as greed, could have led to the murders.
The evil within…
Faced with numerous death threats, concerned parents Johan and Magdelena “Riekie” Lotter feared only for their three children’s safety.
The Durban couple were so concerned they hired private investigator Brad Nathanson to investigate.
Last Saturday the couple were bludgeoned to death in their home.
The following day police arrested the Lotters’ 20-year-old son Hardus and 26-year-old daughter Nicolette.
Detectives also arrested Nicolette’s boyfriend Mathew Naidoo, 21.
The Lotters have another daughter, who is studying in Stellenbosch.
The three alleged killers appeared in the Pinetown magistrate’s court on Wednesday.
They allegedly confessed to the murders before their court appearance this week.
It is believed Hardus and Nicolette beat each other up to corroborate their tales of being accosted and attacked by groups of unknown men and told to deliver death threats to their parents.
The two had apparently planned to kill their parents by injecting air into their veins to induce heart attacks.
But their plans went awry.
As they allegedly attacked Magdelena, who was in the kitchen at the time, the two of them and Naidoo struggled to find her veins so they stabbed her to death instead.
Their father was apparently asleep when the three accused entered his bedroom.
They allegedly hit him over the head with a piece of wood and then strangled him to death with electrical cord cut from the television set.
Nathanson and other sources believe Naidoo was the ringleader.
The three met 18 months ago and Naidoo and Nicolette became romantically involved almost immediately.
Johan Lotter was horrified. He didn’t approve of Naidoo and didn’t want him in his home.
It took just a few months for Naidoo to turn the siblings’ minds around and their life-long teachings upside down.
Nathanson said: “He made the children believe their parents were scum. Whatever they had been taught by their parents, he would teach them the opposite. He was an absolute fanatic”.
Johan Lotter approached Nathanson about two weeks ago after receiving several death threats in the form of SMSes and letters.
The story so far…
A month before the murders, Johan and Riekie Lotter receive death threats via SMS and letters quoting Bible verses. The Lotters are told they have one month to live.
Two weeks ago, Johan Lotter hires a private detective to investigate the threats.
Last Wednesday, Johan receives a typed letter in the mail telling him he is going to be killed.
On Saturday, the Lotters are stabbed and strangled to death in their home in the suburb of Westville, Durban.
On Sunday, the Lotters’ children, Nicolette and Hardus, and Matthew Naidoo, Nicolette’s lover, confess to the murders.
In his confession, Hardus claims he attempted to inject air into Riekie’s veins to induce a heart attack. He says when that failed, he shot his mother with a Tazer gun and pinned her down while Nicolette repeatedly stabbed her.
In her confession, Nicolette confirms that she stabbed her mother.
However, in his confession, Matthew says he influenced the siblings to carry out the killings and claims that it was he who stabbed Riekie.
In his confession, Hardus says he went upstairs and bashed his father on the head with a knobkerrie. He then dragged him into the passage and strangled him with an electric cord.
On Wednesday, the three appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court and are remanded in custody.
On Thursday July 31 the three accused will appear in court again.
Killers under spell of God’s ‘third son’
On the surface, Nicolette Lotter was pious, sweet and composed.
But her diary, which will be used as evidence in her trial for allegedly murdering her parents, Gerhardus and Magdelena “Riekie” Lotter, tells a different story.
Her family was torn apart by the departure of her younger sister, Christelle, who friends said left Durban for Stellenbosch after a breakdown in her relationship with her parents.
It left Nicolette and her younger brother, Hardus, feeling alienated and vulnerable.
They turned to Christianity and thought they had found a saviour in 21-year-old Matthew Naidoo, who Nicolette met two years ago at a prayer meeting in Durban’s working-class Indian township of Phoenix.
But their “saviour” — who told police in a confession that he was the “third son of God” — told the siblings that God wanted their parents.
And so, to please the man they believed was “God’s messenger”, they did what he asked.
Nicolette, 26, a former bass guitarist with the popular pop-rock band, Caffeine Substitute, and Hardus, 20, a second-year IT student at Varsity College in Westville, fell under Naidoo’s influence, impressed with his knowledge of the Bible.
Naidoo and Nicolette became romantically involved, but it was a relationship that didn’t sit well with her strict parents — Grosvenor Girls High School teacher Riekie, and Johan Lotter, who worked at the Bayer-Lanxess chemical plant in Merebank.
Naidoo moved into the Lotter’s three-bedroom house in affluent Westville soon after meeting Nicolette. He told his parents that he had found a job overseas, but the former Palmview Secondary School pupil — and only child — didn’t hold a job and lived off Nicolette’s earnings as a waitress.
News of the killings and the subsequent arrests shattered Johan’s ailing mother, who died on Tuesday morning ahead of the trio’s court appearance on Wednesday.
Naidoo’s family were equally stunned when police informed them of their son’s arrest.
The Hindu family refused to speak to the Sunday Times, saying they had no knowledge of Naidoo’s involvement in Christianity. He had told them he was overseas for the past two years.
In the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, Naidoo turned to his family and said: “I am sorry.”
Nicolette also tried to make amends by writing a note from her holding cell addressed to family and friends, asking that it be read out at her parents’ funeral, scheduled to take place in Westville tomorrow.
In Afrikaans, she apologised and said she and her brother had been “under Matthew’s spell”, and wished they could undo their parents’ killing. She asked family and friends to “find it in your hearts to forgive us”.
The Lotters attended the NG Kerk in Westville. Dominee Gerhardt Kemp said Nicolette left their congregation to join the Westville Baptist Church.
Two weeks before the murders, Johan Lotter hired Hillcrest private detective Brad Nathanson to investigate death threats he had received.”The messages said that he and his wife would be killed. He wanted me to find out who was behind it and he wanted his children to be protected.
“He adored his children and had no suspicion that they might have been behind it. But he did ask me to investigate his daughter’s boyfriend.”
Nathanson said Lotter disapproved of the relationship between his daughter and Naidoo because he felt there was a clash of “cultures”.
“Last Wednesday, he called me to say he was going to ask Naidoo to move out. Then, on Friday, he phoned me to tell me that he had received a letter in the post which stated that they would be killed.”