Family hopes alleged killer stays behind bars after mother’s fire death


The family of a woman who died after her husband allegedly poured petrol over her and set her on fire say they have moved far from the area where she was killed.

Charlene Pretorius (42) died on 27 May this year. Her husband, Stephan Pretorius (38), is facing charges related to Charlene’s murder in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court.

“It’s better for us where we are now,” Elsa Venter, Charlene’s daughter-in-law, confirmed to RNews on Monday.

Elsa is married to Jason Venter, Charlene’s oldest child. His sister, Shani, and their underage half-sister are in a place of safety. She was 13 at the time of the incident and apparently saw her mother burning.

“We saw her report the other day and she is performing well. We are very happy about that,” says Elsa.

However, it remains difficult to know whether Charlene’s alleged killer may be released on bail.

“We don’t want him to be released on bail,” says Elsa.

It came to light last week, during Pretorius’s bail application, that he allegedly made death threats towards Charlene’s children.

Charlene’s family has meanwhile asked the pressure group Action Society to assist them. The organization appointed a private investigator who obtained information that Pretorius apparently made threats from prison.

The organization says the private investigation shows that Pretorius apparently has no respect for the court and has already violated several protection orders.

“He doesn’t make empty threats either. He (allegedly) set Charlene on fire, causing her death. There is therefore no doubt that the three children (of Charlene) are in real danger,” says the statement.

Pretorius also apparently poses a flight risk.

Ian Cameron, Action Society’s director of community safety, pointed out that Pretorius fled the alleged crime scene on the day of Charlene’s death.

According to the police, Pretorius’ parents and sister heard Charlene screaming from the house and ran outside to try to put out the flames. Charlene was then rushed to the Steve Biko Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries a day later.

Pretorius apparently got into his car after the incident and deliberately tried to run over Charlene’s family members – who had arrived to assist her -. The police later confirmed that Pretorius was arrested on the N1 highway near the Sefako Makgatho exit after his car stopped with a flat tyre.

Action Society also opposes Pretorius’ application for bail. Judgment is expected this week.