The husband of the Cape Town woman who allegedly tried to pay a hitman to kill him is shocked and traumatised, says his lawyer.
On Thursday Petina Philda Coetzee made a brief appearance at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court where she was formally charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
The 44-year-old mother of three was arrested on Tuesday morning by police who had been tipped off that she was planning to hire a hitman to have her husband, 67-year-old Austin Coetzee, taken out.
Police say she was nabbed in a sting operation in the parking lot of the Lansdowne train station after handing over an undisclosed amount of money to the “hitman”.
The couple have been married for nine years and have a three-year-old son together.
The accused has two older sons, aged 16 and 20, who live with the couple at their home in Kenilworth.
Austin Coetzee’s lawyer, Geoff Carstens, who was in court on Thursday to oversee proceedings for his client, says the retired businessman is distressed by the incident.
“He is shocked and traumatised by knowing that, firstly, by all accounts he should be dead, and secondly, it would have been because of his wife,” Carstens said.
“On Tuesday, she called me when she was getting arrested because I was their lawyer but we got cut off and then Austin called to tell me what happened.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet because he is so focused on the children and especially the little one who keeps asking for his mother.”
The lawyer said: “To me their marriage showed nothing to the contrary, that it was an unhappy one. We still had supper with them a few weeks ago and everything seemed OK.”
Police and prosecutors are yet to reveal the motive behind the alleged planned hit.
It’s believed Petina Coetzee runs a company that takes identity document photos outside a Home Affairs office in the city.
Her husband is a retired manager who previously worked at a well-known petroleum company.
On Thursday, a distraught looking Coetzee, wearing a waterproof jacket over the jersey she was arrested in, walked into a packed courtroom with red eyes and stood silently before Magistrate Goolam Bawa.
State Prosecutor Advocate Christiaan De Jongh told the court they needed a postponement to confirm an alternative address provided by the accused, and sort out matters around her passports.
Coetzee is due back in court on October 24 for bail information.
Source : IOL