The atmosphere was tense outside the Bishop Lavis magistrate’s court on Wednesday as a suspect in the murder of a young Valhalla Park woman made his first court appearance. Angry residents protested outside the court, calling for justice for Lekita Moore, the woman whose body was discovered early on Sunday morning in a field in 8th Avenue. Moore’s body was found badly mutilated – her throat has been slit and sections of her private parts cut out.
Outside court, residents held posters with Moore’s face and placards calling for more police protection and for men to stop violence and abuse of women. Adding to the fury of residents was the discovery of a murdered 20-year old, Xavier Bester, in the area only hours after Moore was found. While there have been reports that there is a link between the murders, authorities say that it cannot be confirmed at this stage.
Graham Lindhorst, the chairperson of the Bishop Lavis Communtiy Policing Forum (CPF) precinct overseeing Bonteheuwel and Netreg areas, confirmed that the suspect was taken in as a result of community tip-offs.
“Anyone with information needs to come forward, because I don’t think that it is only that one person – I think there are other people involved. If we can bring those people to book, it will be a very good thing,” he stated.
He says that Moore’s death appears to be the result of her attacker/s stabbing her to death.
While there has been speculation that Moore was accompanied by a friend at the time of the incident and that that individual is currently in hospital, Lindhorst asserts that these reports cannot be confirmed as no case has been made in that regard.
Given the fact that Bishop Lavis, Bonteheuwel and Valhalla Park are areas that are notorious for criminal activity flare-ups, particularly gang related violence, Lindhorst says that clamping down on crime in one area results in a spill over in a neighbouring community.
He said the two murders came after a prolonged period of relative quiet within the Valhalla Park area.
Lindhorst adds that community members are in full support of the investigation and have rallied around to bring the alleged perpetrator/s to justice.
“The community is quite upset and are showing their support to the family. The community has indicated that it is willing to go to court if and when [the perpetrator] goes to court.”
In light of the trauma that Moore’s family has been dealt, Lindhorst says that Moore’s father shared with him the unbreakable father-daughter bond that he enjoyed with his murdered child.
“For them she was their daughter, so they really are not taking it well. But, with the help of the community they are trying to cope with things,” he stated.
At this stage, the community is turning their focus from dealing with criminal activity within the area, toward assisting the family with the process of the autopsy and funeral arrangements.
“These two murders have really shocked the community. So, there will definitely be intervention and finding ways to ensure that this sort of thing does not happen in future,” he continued.
Given the dire socioeconomic situation that many families within Valhalla Park find themselves in, Lindhorst explains that Moore’s family is unprepared for the costs that accompanies funeral preparations and is urging anyone who is able to assist to kindly come forward.