Woman accused of attempting to kill husband wants to salvage marriage

A couple in love
A couple in love

Petina Coetzee was ordered‚ by a court to stay away from her husband because she allegedly tried to have him killed. But now she wants her bail conditions to be amended so that the couple can get back together to work on their marriage.

She appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday to do just that.

Her lawyer‚ William Booth‚ argued that she wants be at home with her children and 66-year-old husband‚ Austin Coetzee.

Last year her plans to allegedly pay a hit man to kill Austin were foiled by undercover cops. She was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and released on bail of R30‚000.

Booth noted the state’s concerns that Petina could “unduly influence” her husband‚ who is still on the state’s witness roll‚ and proposed a new condition that she would “not discuss the case”.

But state advocate Christian de Jongh opposed the request‚ saying that there would be no way to monitor what they discussed privately.

Austin’s lawyers had prepared documents which confirm that he is not afraid of his wife “at all”.

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“He sent us letters to say that he doesn’t wish to testify in the case and that he wants to become reconciled with his wife‚” said Booth.

“He has actually told the prosecutors he will take it upon himself should anything happen to him‚ but he doesn’t believe that he’s in any danger and he’s quite happy that she come back home.”

Booth said that they might call upon Austin as a witness for the defence should the state decide not to use him.

“She does want to come back‚ she wants to be at home‚ obviously to be with him and to be reconciled but her main concern is for the children particularly the boy of four years‚” said Booth.

He said they were seeing marriage councillors but would not elaborate when asked about their problems.

“What are marital problems? I mean having a couple of arguments… I’m not going to discuss all of that now. The case caused a split because she was forced to leave the common home‚” he said.

Booth also requested that she be allowed to report to a police station nearer to her home in Kenilworth instead of Elsies River where she has to report twice daily.

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De Jongh opposed the request saying the police needed some way of monitoring her movements to make sure that she “stands trial in this very serious case”.

Booth read out an affidavit by a social worker which claimed the current living arrangements had traumatised the children.

He said that the social worker also found that her older child‚ who is Austin’s stepson and in grade 11‚ is “effectively looking after the younger child” in Petina’s absence.

Austin seemed emotionless in court. He did not even make eye contact with Petina when he passed her in a narrow hallway outside court.

Magistrate Goolam Bawa is set to deliver his decision on May 4.

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