The killer of Maties student Inge Lotz remains at large and is roaming free, a top South African investigative author alleges in a real-life thriller.
Acclaimed author Antony Altbeker is about to publish the results of an exhaustive three-year study into one of the Western Cape's most sensational murder trials in recent history - including the allegation by Lotz's boyfriend, Fred van der Vyver, who was tried and acquitted, that he was essentially framed by the police.
The book, Fruit of a Poisoned Tree, is likely to reignite interest in the case - with the civil suit by Van der Vyver against the minister of police to be heard by the Western Cape High Court later this year.
Van der Vyver, an Old Mutual actuary, was acquitted of the murder of his girlfriend by Judge Deon van Zyl and two assessors on November 29, 2007.
Soon afterwards, he announced plans to sue the State for R46 million, alleging that all the evidence against him had been fabricated by detectives.
Van der Vyver said the marathon trial had prevented him from studying and had delayed his qualifying as an actuary.
The damages he claimed included loss of earnings and legal expenses.
But Van der Vyver then faced a claim for R8.4m in damages from Lotz's parents, prominent Cape Town medical professor Jan Lotz and his wife, Juanita, for "causing their daughter's death".
This civil suit was widely considered reminiscent of the civil prosecution in which former US football player OJ Simpson, who had been acquitted of the murder of his former wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in the 1990s, was found guilty on a "balance of probabilities", rather than "beyond reasonable doubt" as required in a criminal case .
Lotz's parents alleged in court papers that Van der Vyver was responsible for their daughter's death.
They said that his alleged conduct had caused them "severe emotional shock and psychological trauma".
The damages for which they claimed included psychological injury, permanent loss of amenities of life, pain, and medical expenses.
Van der Vyver lodged a counter-suit, but the Lotzes dropped their suit almost exactly a year ago.
Van der Vyver's father, Louis, a well-known East London tomato farmer, confirmed at the time that the withdrawal of the lawsuits by the Lotzes and his son did not affect his son's claim against the State.
The beautiful and talented Inge Lotz was found dead in her flat in Stellenbosch on March 16, 2005.
She had been bludgeoned to death and had been stabbed several times.
Five of the stab wounds pierced her left lung and three of her ribs were severed.
Her attacker made off with a fruit knife and the remote control that granted access to the complex in which she lived.
The court had harsh words for the police detectives investigating the murder.
Judge Van Zyl rejected the evidence of various police officials, and labelled aspects of the investigation "unscientific", "incompetent" and "unprofessional".
The minister of police has not yet responded to Van der Vyver's allegations.
But before the high court hears his claim, the author's book is to hit the shelves - and it is to be expected that the players in the looming court case will scrutinise Altbeker's analysis.
Altbeker has previously penned The Dirty Work of Democracy, which won the Recht Malan prize for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton award, and A Country at War with Itself, widely regarded as one of the most authoritative accounts of the reasons for South Africa's crisis of violence and of what to do to rectify it. As Altbeker's allegations are made public, a spokesman for the province's director of public prosecutions (DPP) told the Cape Argus yesterday that police were continuing to investigate the murder, but could not give a time frame for the submission of a criminal docket for the DPP to study and decide whether to prosecute.