Peter Frederiksen at a court appearance earlier this month. Photo: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/Scanpix
Peter Frederiksen, a 63-year-old gun shop owner, was arrested in September after police investigators said up to 21 pieces of frozen female genitals, surgical equipment and pornographic photographs of children were found at his Bloemfontein townhouse.
His wife, 28-year-old Anna Matseliso Molise, was set to be the state's key witness against him before she was gunned down in October outside her house in Maseru, the capital of neighbouring Lesotho.
Prosecutor Amanda Bester said that Frederiksen, who allegedly had a cell phone in prison, conspired to murder his wife because she “knew too much” and that he intimidated other state witnesses while behind bars.
“You do not have any evidence regarding my wife's death in Lesotho, so I suggest you stop that,” said Frederiksen from the witness stand at Bloemfontein Magistrate Court.
He argued that he did not take pornographic photographs of children and said that he and his wife used the surgical equipment to do cosmetic body piercings.
“I had some pictures of women who were naked, but I definitely don't think it's porn,” he said.
Frederiksen, wearing a grey long-sleeve top, looked relaxed during the bail hearing, but became emotional when he recounted how he discovered his wife's death while in prison.
“After I heard my wife had passed away, it changed everything in my life,” he said, his eyes brimming with tears.
The couple had two children together.
He faces several charges, including two counts of conspiracy to commit murder — one in connection with his wife's death — three counts of assault, two of bigamy and production and distribution of child pornography.
He also faces charges in connection with the illegal removal of human tissue.
Along with the genitals found in his freezer, police searching his house discovered diaries from 2004 recounting genital mutilation on women, anaesthetic drugs, and pieces of dried female genitals on a hook.
Frederiksen, who in the past pleaded guilty to illegally transporting elephant tusks, said he has assets worth 2 million rand ($141,000) and that if released on bail would concentrate on running his gun shop.
“In Lesotho, our business is much better than in South Africa,” he said, “we support the police and army there, specifically with ammunition.”
Last week, the state argued that Frederiksen should be denied bail, saying he was in South Africa on fraudulent documents.