Marizka Coetzer on her relationship with convicted killer Le Roux Steyn

3 August 2021

Marizka Coetzer on her relationship with convicted killer Le Roux Steyn

I was working as a journalist at Krugersdorp News when I started covering the Krugersdorp murders in 2016, when the first victim of The Appointment Murders, Anthony Scholefield, was found in his boot.

At that point, it was just a very mysterious murder, especially in a town like Krugersdorp. When the second victim, Kevin McAlpine, was murdered, in the exact same way, it sparked my interest because I initially thought a serial killer was on the loose.

Also, I knew the victim personally, which gave me the sense to report on the case to see justice was served.

After the third victim, Hanlé Lategan, was murdered, my cousin was arrested in connection with The Appointment Murders. This is where the case became personal because not only did I want justice for the victims but I also had to find out if my cousin was a cold-hearted murderer. I knew he wasn’t but at this point nothing made sense – it was like something out of a movie.

Later I joined Huisgenoot magazine where I and a colleague landed a book deal to write about the Krugersdorp murders. For the book, I decided to go visit one of the murderers, Le Roux Steyn, in prison. On our first visit, Le Roux took my number and phoned me the very same day. In an attempt to get the story straight out of the murderer’s mouth, I quickly formed a very tight bond and friendship with Le Roux.

As the weeks went by, the friendship between me and Le Roux turned romantic when we fell in love with each other. I was married at this time. Eventually, Le Roux and I admitted our feelings for each other and he asked me to be his girlfriend the day before he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

By this time and for the next two-and-a-half years, we were inseparable. He was phoning every day and I visited him in jail every weekend or every visit he had.

The stress of trying to maintain the prison relationship took its toll on me mentally and I started feeling like I was in my own prison.

The weekend before the lockdown was implemented in March 2020 was the last time I visited Le Roux in prison. The months of lockdown and not seeing each other was hard on him and our relationship. During this period I was working as an essential worker (media) when the country was in a hard lockdown.

The months of lockdown started having an impact on our relationship with telephonic contact. After being in an estranged marriage for two years and in a prison relationship for two-and-a-half years, I grew lonely and the inevitable happened: I met someone.

Besides the pressure of a new job and a new love interest, I started withdrawing from Le Roux emotionally and financially.

The stress of trying to maintain the prison relationship took its toll on me mentally and I started feeling like I was in my own prison. By this point, he was phoning me constantly at work and the relationship started to crash and burn to the point of attempted suicide. When this happened, I realised that I could not do this any longer and cut my ties.

It has been a hard, messy, and emotional breakup that neither of us could deal with, because I was unable to face him.

When I watched Devilsdorp, I was overwhelmed by emotions.

Despite our relationship ending dramatically, I could not help but feel the same love and compassion for him. I still believe in him. I still want him to rehabilitate and heal. When I look back, I realise that I have learned a lot about the Krugersdorp murders, Le Roux, and myself.

The documentary reminded me why I fell in love and loved Le Roux. I again felt the pain of his rejection and my own too.

There are times, however, that I question the relationship, especially seeing scenes of Le Roux committing crimes, which made me question if I was not being played all along. Despite this, I choose to remember the good in Le Roux and the good times we shared in the controversial relationship between a journalist and murderer.

I will always remember the relationship as a form of the forbidden fruit from which I took a big bite.

Our attempted friendship after the breakup finally ended when Le Roux also moved on.

This relationship and case have left me heartbroken in more than one way and I am still carrying the burden of the past five years.

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