Croeser can't say why he didn't phoen for help after stabbing

2011-09-20 00:00

SUSPECTED wife murderer Morné Croeser (34) testified yesterday he did not think of using his cellphone to call his friends in the police dog unit for help to trace the intruder he alleges stabbed his wife, Erika, to death in their Albert Falls home on August 28 last year.

Croeser agreed under cross-examination that his cellphone was found in the pocket of his jeans after he was hospitalised in the wake of the stabbing and said he has been asked many times since why he did not telephone for help.

“In my state of mind I didn’t think of using it,” he said.

He said his only thought was to call his neighbour, Gideon, who was the nearest person to him who had a gun.

Croeser fetched his own firearm from under the mattress in the bedroom and fired a shot to attract attention.

He completed his testimony before Judge Esther Steyn and an assessor yesterday, stating repeatedly, “I did not murder my wife”, in response to the prosecution’s version put to him by state advocate Irene Neyt. She submitted that he stabbed Erika to death and then in a “controlled manner” stabbed himself in the stomach with the knife, missing all vital organs, and then waited for the police.

Neyt suggested that would explain why both his and his wife’s DNA were contained in blood found on the mattress from where he retrieved his gun.

Croeser also denied the state’s allegation that he staged an intrusion at their home on August 24 and 25.

Asked why he had left his firearm under the mattress instead of taking it with him that night, knowing there had been an intruder a few days earlier, Croeser replied, “After I fired the shots [on August 25] I didn’t think anybody would ever return to my house.”

The reason he did not have his gun on him, as he usually did, was that he was planning to meet his wife at a hall not far from the house.

When they decided to go out to Amble Inn they did not return home first, he said.

The defence yesterday called specialist forensic pathologist Dr Reggie Perumal, who highlighted what in his view were uncertainties surrounding the findings by state experts concerning the stab wounds inflicted on Erika, as well as injuries found on Croeser’s hands.

Perumal demonstrated how Croeser could possibly have sustained the wounds to his hands while holding the knife in his stomach and struggling with an intruder as he claimed.

Perumal said he was not able to exclude the findings of the state’s experts, but did not agree with all of them.

Defence advocate Murray Pitman said the defence will call another witness today.

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