The loud sobs of Beatrice Adams could be heard in the Courtroom 4 where the man accused of killing of her 12-year-old daughter faces charges of rape and murder.
The emotional woman was immediately surrounded by her husband, family and friends who began to pray for her well-being.
“In die naam van Jesus, bring kalmte,” one woman could be heard saying.
Beatrice, 40, was then escorted out of the courtroom and was not present when the suspect arrived in court.
Also present was Patricia Japhta, the mother of the suspect’s first victim - an eight-year-old girl he was convicted for raping, choking and stabbing in the heart with a pair of scissors.
In February 2005, the man had lured the girl from her home in Hyde Park informal settlement to the Khayelitsha Cemetery, where he attacked her.
She miraculously survived by pretending to be dead and managed to crawl out of the bush and found a passer-by who helped her.
The child’s unwavering testimony secured a conviction and the suspect was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
He was released on parole in 2018.
Michaela disappeared last Tuesday night while playing in front of her home in New Horizon, Pelikan Park.
The frantic family searched for her and reported her missing to police.
Upon learning about the suspect’s previous conviction, police questioned him and during the early hours of Thursday, he led cops to where he had murdered the girl and left her body in 9th Avenue in Schaapkraal, Philippi.
Inside court, police reinforcements were called in to control the crowd after mayhem broke out as mense tried to secure a seat to catch a glimpse of the 48-year-old suspect.
As he emerged from the holding cells, dressed in a yellow shirt and wearing spectacles, he avoided eye contact and stared straight ahead.
State prosecutor Nicky Konisi requested that the media and public be barred from naming and publishing photographs of the suspect until the investigation is completed.
She said the suspect is being charged with a Schedule 6 offence, in that the murder had been planned and premeditated.
After the State indicated they would be opposing bail due to the suspect’s previous conviction, his defence lawyer surprised everyone when he said his client would not be applying for bail.
The suspect told Magistrate Goolam Bawa that his first language is Afrikaans.
The State asked for a postponement as evidence such as chain statements, witness statements, crime scene photographs and the post-mortem was still outstanding.
The matter was postponed to 14 April for further investigation.
Outside court, the community expressed anger at Bawa’s decision not to have the suspect identified in public, saying the court was “protecting” him.
Residents demanded that a female magistrate preside over the case: “Ons soek ‘n vroue judge, iemand wat ‘n ma is, iemand wat sal verstaan.”
Michaela’s ouma, Emily Williams, was in tears and said she had always noticed the suspect at a local supermarket and was frightened of him: “I would see him at the Shoprite in Pelikan Park and I was always afraid that he would take our shopping bags.”
A hartseer Patricia said seeing the suspect after more than a decade has opened old wounds.
“It has opened old wounds and I feel for this family because he did the same thing to this child that he did to my child. I am just lucky that my child is alive,” she said.
Patricia said the suspect had been a friend of the family, ate meals with them and ran errands for her.
She said last year, after learning that he was out on parole, she warned his parole officer at the Department of Correctional Services that he was a danger to the community and that they should keep track of him “as he would kill again”.
“If the official had done his work, this would never have happened,” said the mom.