Farmer’s suspected killer pleads not guilty

2014-03-18 00:00

ONE of two men charged with the murder of Eston farmer Mick Hampson (69) yesterday denied responsibility for the shooting.

Jabulani Ngobese pleaded not guilty to murdering Hampson; to the attempted murder of Hampson’s son, Murray; robbery with aggravating circumstances; and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He said in a plea explanation before Acting Judge Louis Barnard that he had only intended to take part in a plan hatched by his former co-accused, Siboniso Mtolo, to steal an Isuzu bakkie from Hampson’s property, Far Away Farm.

He said when Mtolo invited him to go along to steal the vehicle, he’d “relished the opportunity to have access to transport as it sounded like an easy way to procure some material benefit without much effort”.

He said they went to the farm on September 27 last year. Mtolo made him “feel at ease” as he told him he was familiar with the locality.

En route to a homestead they were headed to, a bakkie stopped next to them and one of the two white occupants alighted carrying a shotgun. “He enquired as to where we are headed,” said Ngobese.

He said Mtolo replied that they were on their way to a homestead in the vicinity, but the white man “became agitated” and ordered them off the farm.

The vehicle drove off but returned a few moments later. The same man alighted with the shotgun and ordered them to get into the rear of the bakkie.

The man also got in and ordered them to sit on the floor. Ngobese said he complied, but Mtolo protested.

The man told them they were being taken to the police to explain their presence on the farm.

Suddenly Mtolo tried to wrench the firearm from the man, but failed.

Ngobese said Mtolo then shouted at him, demanding that he assist in grabbing the gun. “I then intervened and grabbed the firearm. I wrested the firearm away from the man, and I threw the firearm on the ground. All three of us had fallen off the vehicle. The white man then ran into the cane fields. Accused one [Mtolo] ran alongside the bakkie. I heard a shot go off. I then realised that the driver of the bakkie had been shot by accused one,” he said.

Ngobese said he had not foreseen that anyone would be killed or that any force would be used to steal property from anyone. He said he regretted his decision to accompany Mtolo that day.

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