Title: Fruit of a Poisoned Tree
Subtitle. A True Story of Murder and the Miscarriage of Justice
Author: Antony Altbeker
Type: Crime History
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Johannesburg, South Africa 2010
ISBN 9781868423330 / ISBN 978-1-86842-333-0
Softcover, 15x23 cm, 438 pages, several colour photos
In June 2005, Fred van der Vyver, a young actuary and the son of a wealthy Eastern Cape farming family, was charged with murdering his girlfriend, Inge Lotz, allegedly bludgeoning her to death with a hammer as she lay on a couch in her lounge. The case against Van der Vyver seemed overwhelming. His behaviour at the time of the murder appeared suspicious and incriminating, and a letter, penned by Inge on the morning of her death, suggested that the two had been fighting. But it was forensic evidence that seemed to prove his guilt: his fingerprints were found at the scene, one of his shoes was matched to a bloodstain on the bathroom floor, and traces of blood were found on an ornamental hammer.
And yet, in one of the most sensational and controversial murder trials in South African legal history, Van der Vyver’s lawyers sought to turn the tables on the police, accusing them of fabricating evidence and lying to the judge. In Fruit of a Poisoned Tree: A True Story of Murder and the Miscarriage of Justice, prize-winning author Antony Altbeker takes you into the heat of this epic courtroom battle. Altbeker’s eyewitness account of the trial presents the reader with all the evidence and testimony, while also placing it in the context of a society and a justice system that are being stretched to breaking point.