Action Society joins battle against bail to protect murdered mother’s three children

Action Society has thrown its weight behind efforts to ensure that Stephan Pretorius is denied bail. The monster from Pretoria North set his wife, 42-year-old Charlene Pretorius, alight in front of their teenage daughter on 27 May this year. He watched her burn before fleeing the scene while his parents and sister rushed her to hospital. He was apprehended after his vehicle got a flat tire but has made serious threats against the lives of three children, saying he will burn them, too. After being approached by Charlene’s family, Action Society has joined the battle against bail.

Action Society deployed private investigators in June to assist with the investigation and is satisfied that the contributions made by the Action Society investigator in the bail arguments have proven three things:

  • That Pretorius has no respect for the court – he has violated various protection orders.
  • That his threats aren’t empty – he acted on his threats to kill his wife. He set Charlene alight, causing her death. There is, therefore, no doubt that the three children are in genuine danger.
  • He is a flight risk – he fled the scene of the crime.

According to Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society, Charlene did everything right in her attempts to protect herself and her children against Pretorius. During their 16-year marriage, he threatened to shoot her and the children. She obtained various protection orders, which he violated repeatedly. She filed for divorce in February this year and obtained what would be her last protection order.

“This tragedy could have been avoided. The justice system continues to fail victims of domestic violence. When a protection order is violated, there should be an arrest with no police bail. The violation should signal to the police that the perpetrator is a real threat, and their role is then to protect the victim. This didn’t happen, and it cost Charlene her life.”

“We aim to ensure that the South African Police Service (SAPS) takes Stephan’s threats to burn the children seriously. Protecting the children and finding justice for Charlene is now the biggest priority.”

“Charlene and Stephan’s daughter witnessed the whole incident, and according to our information, Pretorius simply watched Charlene burn and then fled the scene, almost running family members over in the process.

Action Society is convinced that Pretorius’s attempt to get bail is an attempt to act on the threats he made against the children. “He went through with his threats against Charlene. We will do everything in our power to protect the children from this monster.”

Action Society will be at court again on Monday when bail arguments will be concluded.

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