The sister of one of the notorious Sizzlers massage parlour murderers has revealed that he has died - and begged for his family to be left in peace.
Trevor Thys's sister said yesterday that she feared for her and her family's lives after the broadcast of e.tv's Third Degree on Tuesday night, which graphically revisited his and convicted killer Adam Woest's part in the 2003 murders of nine men at the Sizzlers massage parlour in Sea Point, Cape Town.
Helderstroom correctional services officials yesterday confirmed that 45-year-old Thys had died of a heart attack on February 19, 2008, after struggling with severe high blood pressure for over three years.
He had served just over five years of the nine life terms to which he had been sentenced.
Speaking to The Star on condition that she would not be named, Thys's sister cried as she spoke of how she had arrived too late to be with her brother when he had died in Tygerberg Hospital.
"When we got to the hospital, we were too late. He was already dead, his body was cold. I remember seeing that his feet were chained to the bottom of the bed."
Thys's sister said she believed that her brother, who was studying theology, "made right with God" before he died.
Marlene Visser, mother of 22-year-old Sizzlers victim Warren Visser, told The Star yesterday that Thys had sent her several letters from prison and seemed "a world away from the kind of person who could have killed my son".
"We have cried together over what happened (at Sizzlers). I do believe he felt real remorse about what he had done. I have forgiven him."
But Visser's attitude towards Thys had not been shared by other people, his sister said yesterday.
Thys's sister said she and her family had buried his body as quickly as possible "because we were afraid of people finding out, maybe doing something at his funeral".
She and her family received numerous threats after news of Thys's involvement in the Sizzlers massacre broke. Now, Thys's sister says, she is "so scared" that the Third Degree episode will reignite public anger about the massacre - anger that will be directed at her and her family.
Thys's sister is supporting Visser's complaint, made to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa yesterday, that Third Degree violated the broadcasting code by graphically re-enacting the Sizzlers killings and broadcasting video and images of the victims' dead bodies. But e.tv maintains that the programme was sensitive and relevant.
By Karyn Maughan The Star