Van Der Vyver
case in short
On November 29, 2007 the trial of Fred van der Vyver for
the 2005 murder of Inge Lotz ended in a verdict of "Not Guilty" in Cape Town,
South Africa. In rendering that verdict, the judge went a step further and found
that each piece of evidence and each witness presented by the prosecution was
without credibility and that Mr. van der Vyver could not have committed the
crime. In his final words, the judge actually pronounced Mr. van der Vyver
"Innocent" rather than simply "not guilty."
Fingerprint evidence was presented as having come from a DVD cover at the scene
of the murder of Miss Lotz. That was significant because Mr. van der Vyver was
at her apartment for the last time on the morning of 16 March 2005, at least 8
hours before her murder, but she had rented the DVD that afternoon at 3pm. The
problem was that the latent print could only have come from a drinking glass,
complete with curved edges, curved fingers, and even a lip print on the rim of
the glass. Had there been any lift that could conceivably come from a DVD cover,
a careless mix up may have been possible, but none of the eleven lifts from the
scene could have come from a DVD cover.
Likewise, a bloody swipe mark on the tiled bathroom floor was presented by the
police as being individualized to Mr. van der Vyver's squash shoe. However, it
could be seen from the earliest photographs that an appendage that supposedly
"matched" the tread pattern in the shoe was absent altogether from the bloody
swipe mark originally. Later photographs showed the appendage, which had all the
appearance of having been made with a cotton swab.
In addition, an ornamental bar hammer (for opening bottles and breaking ice
cubes) was seized from Mr. van der Vyver by the police and presented as the
murder weapon. The police tested the hammer on a pig carcass to try to reproduce
wounds on Ms. Lotz's body. The hammer bent on the first test blow to the pig, so
the police found a different, although somewhat similar hammer and continued
Finally, Mr. van der Vyver had an iron-clad alibi, as he was in a business
meeting with other people all afternoon at his place of work and three quarters
of an hour's drive from the murder scene. He never left the meeting, but would
have had to have been gone for about two hours just to drive to the scene and
back, much more to have committed the murder and cleaned up.
More information can be found by searching the names "Inge Lotz" and "Fred van
der Vyver" through various search engines. This case has the potential of
becoming a major scandal in the annals of evidence fabrication and more will
doubtlessly be heard of this case in coming months.
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