The March 2013 murder of Rosemary Theron shocked Knysna. She had been a long-term resident of the town before moving to Cape Town. The young, alleged murderers (her daughter, Phoenix Theron and her boyfriend, Kyle Maspero) and corpse-moving accomplice (Godfrey Scheepers) had lived in Knysna too.
Scheepers was the one to step forward and tell the police what had happened. Phoenix Theron admitted guilt, implicated Maspero, and is currently serving 15 years in Pollsmoor Prison. Her action was met with approval by many and gained her a Facebook support group.
It was always possible that Kyle Maspero would spend time in Knysna whilst he awaited trial but no one could have predicted that would continue 2 years after the murder… and after he’d intended admitting to the murder.
First, there were trial delays and then, because Maspero was unable to recall all the facts sufficient for Cape Judge President John Hlophe’s to consider the trial fair, the latter sent him for 30 days mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital. Indicative of South Africa’s failing government is that there was no space available for Maspero who has waited for a bed for 8 months whilst enjoying life in Knysna.
Maspero was to originally live with, and work for, his brother. No travel was permitted outside of those two places but it wasn’t long before people were complaining that they had seen him. Despite the severity of the crime and situation, the probation officer repeatedly approved outings for Maspero. How many of those were approved and how many of those were not is unknown.
After a braai at Green Hole on Leisure Isle, I realised that the sightings were likely true (he’d been seen there before too). I witnessed him playing with dogs whilst accompanied by Martin Hatchuel, his foster father who lives in Hunter’s Home. After Maspero’s brother kicked him out, Hatchuel took him in. It wasn’t long before a resident of the area told me she had seen Kyle riding his bicycle in the area alone. At the end of January this year, an ex-friend of the deceased was very upset when she bumped into me in Knysna Mall as she’d just seen Hatchuel and Maspero inside SuperSpar. Maspero had apparently being glued to his cellphone.
Maspero has been active online. He maintains over two hundred friends on his Facebook and is prone to posting selfies and, recently, his new Nike slops. He even posted a photo of himself and his ex-lover, Phoenix Theron. Possibly smirkingly, under Education on his profile, he posted “Pollsmoor” (see featured image at top). As further proof of his outings, photos on a friend’s Facebook show him enjoying the countryside of Rheenendal at the Spookasem restaurant (another of his Facebook friends was recently involved in vandalism in Knysna, in the smashing of a shop window and street pot plants that were the proud result of a community project).
Having the alleged murderer walking around town has been a difficult and heartbreaking situation for the victim’s friends and her youngest daughter who lives here with her aunt.
Hopefully, there will be a conclusion soon as Maspero appeared before Judge Hlophe on February 5 this year. Today, the Sunday Argus reported that William da Grass, Maspero’s lawyer, said that he expects a bed to be available at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital next month as the queue ahead of Maspero is down to “just over 30 people”. Prosecutor Susan Halloway was more specific when she was reported in the Citizen as saying that Maspero was number 37 on the waiting list.
Hlophe reminded Kyle Maspero to abide by his bail conditions.
[Full Disclosure: Hatchuel receives income from Knysna Tourism and has opposed me online whilst I’ve tried to bring the organisation to justice after they misused public funds. I’ve deliberately tip-toed around him for that fact lest I’m accused of bias… but not mentioning his role would be irresponsible reporting. I mailed him questions 12 hours before posting this blog but his response was clearly unhelpful. Within a few hours, he commented on one of my poems, below an unsigned press release against me, nastily saying that my poem was a “call for the abuse of children”.]