It is believed a woman who allegedly tried to pay a hitman to kill her husband was gatvol of her marriage.
Sources close to the accused, Petina Philda Coetzee, revealed to the Daily Voice the Kenilworth woman was being abused.
Yesterday the 44-year-old made a brief appearance at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court where she was formally charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
The 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’s lawyer, Geoff Carstens, who was in court yesterday 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 says.
“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 sunken 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 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.
A friend of the accused claimed Petina might have been driven to murder as a result of being abused.
“This was not about money, and if she did not do it for financial gain, then it leaves abuse,” the man said.
The Daily Voice understands Petina signed a prenuptial agreement before the wedding.
Yesterday, 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.