Tears flowed at Bellville Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday as the heartbroken family of Nicole Bester came face-to-face for the first time with her boyfriend who has been accused of murdering her and staging a suicide.
A large contingent of protesters gathered outside court dressed in black and called for justice as Yusrey Oliver Pillay, 39, made his second appearance after being granted R2000 bail last month.
Nicole’s family called for support at court in their bid to get answers about what led up to the tragic death of the young mom and UWC student on 22 August 2020.
Mom Cashandra told the Daily Voice they had been kept in the dark about the investigation and were initially told that her daughter had committed suicide by taking pills in the couple’s Burgundy Estate flat.
But several months later a post mortem found that the cause of death was manual strangulation.
Cashandra says Pillay did not attend the funeral and never responded when questioned for details about the fateful day.
Standing in the dock wearing a black coat, Pillay avoided eye contact with Nicole’s family as the state prosecutor called for a postponement for the investigation to be finalised.
The magistrate postponed the case to 11 June and noted that several other reports were still outstanding.
Dad Stuart, 47, says the family has lodged a complaint against the investigator and called a meeting with the prosecutor about why Pillay was granted bail.
“Nobody can answer that question. I have spoken to the prosecutor and she is going to arrange an appointment with me to explain why he got bail.
“The docket has not been discussed with us and that is causing frustration.”
Shortly after her death it was revealed that Nicole had planned to leave Pillay on the weekend she died as her family found bags she had packed and she also made arrangements for her five-year-old daughter to be brought to her.
Among the protestors was her friend Danielle Strydom who says she was suspicious when she heard Nicole had allegedly committed suicide as they had noted signs of discord in the couple’s relationship.
“I was suspicious, there were subtle signs that we had picked up on, but obviously we didn’t have any proof.
“She was staying away and withdrew from social activities in the months leading up to her death.”
Danielle slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to stick to his word when he promised last year that suspects in gender-based violence cases would not be granted bail.
“We have been to GBV protests multiple times and never thought we would be standing here for one of our own friends.”