Intruder killed my wife — Hilton Shaw

2008-11-17 00:00

Hilton Shaw (57), charged with the murder of his wife, Susan, on June 3 last year, suspects she was attacked by an intruder, according to a statement handed to Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner and her assessor yesterday.

Shaw said he and his wife were at home at Lake Lyndhurst — a remote country estate near Fort Nottingham — on that day .

Leaving his wife at home, he drove to a point 300 to 400 metres away where he could get a cellphone signal. “I was absent for approximately 10 to 15 minutes,” he said. Shaw states that on his return he saw his wife lying on the verandah face down. His first impression was that she’d had an epileptic fit.

“I turned her over and noticed blood. I also saw she had a gunshot wound to the chest. I became overwhelmed with emotion and what followed is a blur. I do, however, recall throwing her shoes to one side and kissing her. She was full of blood. I remember thinking that she needed medical attention.”

Shaw said he rushed to his vehicle and drove up the driveway, then realised he’d left his cellphone behind. After retrieving it, he called a friend, Kobus Kruger. He asked him to summon an air ambulance and Kruger also told him he would call the police.

Shaw said back at the house he could not find a weapon. “My first assumption was that the deceased had committed suicide. I looked in my safe and could not find my 9 mm pistol. On entering the main bedroom I observed my gun lying on the floor. I also noticed blood and a blood trail leading to the lounge and the verandah.”

Denying that he had anything to do with his wife’s death, Shaw added that he suspects she was attacked by an intruder who saw him leaving.

Shaw’s brother-in-law, Craig Bricknell, who received a call notifying him of an “accident” that evening, said he raced to the scene from his home at the Dargle 30 km away.

He said the Shaw’s house is secluded and “a bit of mountaineering” was required to reach it along a steep track accessible only with 4x4 vehicles. At the gate he hooted and after “what seemed like an eternity” Shaw arrived to unlock it.

While driving up to the house Shaw gave him his version of what happened, he said.

He appeared “shaky and distressed”, but was able to communicate.

At one stage Bricknell told the court he was no longer certain if Shaw had said that when he turned his wife over she was already dead or that she had “died in his arms” because he had subsequently given “various versions” as to what happened.

He recalled that Shaw had stated that his wife had been depressed the previous two days. He had also denied that either of them had been drinking that day.

Bricknell said that when he touched his sister’s body it was already “ice cold”.

He said he looked around the house by torchlight and noticed a trail of blood leading through it to the main bedroom.

He also noticed blood in the bar area and asked a policeman to ask Shaw — who’d poured himself a drink there — to stop drinking and to move to another part of the house, which he did.

He said there was no indication the house was searched or that anything was missing. His sister’s diamond earrings were on the dresser and her handbag was in her bedroom, he said.

Bricknell will continue testifying today.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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