SAfrica alleged boy killer dabbled with Satanism: parents

Johannesburg, South Africa - The parents of a South African schoolboy accused of killing a fellow student with a sword said Thursday that he had experimented with Satanism and was bullied.

"We regret to say that it appears that Morne experimented with Satanism and that it gave him a kind of protection for his psyche," Machiel and Liza Harmse said in a statement in the Afrikaans daily newspaper Die Beeld.

Wearing a ninja-like outfit and home-made mask, the suspect Morne allegedly went on a violent spree Monday and stabbed to death a 16-year-old boy, injured another pupil and two school gardeners.

"His words to us were 'When I put on the mask, everything went dead quiet and my body started moving. I wanted to stop, but I couldn't,'" the translated statement said.

The Harmses said they had not realised the impact of physical and emotional abuse inflicted on Morne, who was small and skinny for his age and apparently had been regularly bullied.

During a visit with their son Tuesday, they said he had been "terribly disoriented" and "could basically not remember anything about what had happened."

The Harmses apologised to the family of the victim, Jacques Pretorius.

"We realise you have lost what you loved most due to the actions of our child. We are terribly sorry."

Morne, who faces charges of murder and attempted murder, appeared in a magistrates court on Wednesday. His case was adjourned until August 27.