Prison fight ‘led to testimony’

2008-04-27 00:00

Vather case: Court told of revenge motive for evidence of confession.

A fight in prison with wife-murder accused Nico Vather (35) induced a fellow detainee, Mark David, to testify that Vather had confessed to him that he murdered his wife, Valentia.

Awaiting trial detainee Jason Chetty told Judge Piet Koen and assessors in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday that he heard a commotion in a cell and saw Vather and David exchanging angry words — apparently over cigarettes and notes that Vather had written.

Chetty said he saw Vather kick and punch David before they were separated by warders. He said David testified against Vather.

Vather has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife and denied that he confessed to the murder.

Earlier, Vather testified that on the night Valentia was stabbed, he had left her with her two-year-old son and his lover, Yasmin Shaik, to go drinking at the HQ Sports Bar, taking R1 000, which he got from Shaik.

He spent an hour with a prostitute at an escort agency before spending the night with friends.

He said that early next morning, the friends took him to his home in Prestbury and, as he entered, he saw his wife, bleeding in the bedroom. His son was in his bed next to the double bed. He took him to his friends, who were waiting outside, and asked them to call the police.

Vather’s landlady, Martha van der Merwe, told the court that she knew Vather had killed his wife.

Prison warder Jerome Ryan said that he met Vather at the bar and Vather bought a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, which they nearly finished. Ryan said Vather seemed to be suffering from stress. His mother had died recently and Vather said Shaik had a "hit" out on him and he did not seem normal.

"He checked to see when a car went past and when we left, he left a R100 note for drinks and said he was going to an escort agency,"

The case continues on May 5.

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