Soldier found guilty of murder

2014-04-24 00:00

SANDF soldier Paul Jeke was found guilty of murder, and ex-Pietermaritzburg policeman Morne Croeser was convicted of assault yesterday arising from an incident at Ingwavuma on June 8, 2010.

Judge Jerome Mnguni and an assessor rejected Jeke’s claim that he’d acted in self defence when he shot an unarmed man, Sibekezelo Thembinkosi Ndlovu, dead with his R4 rifle after he and Croeser pursued the vehicle he was travelling in, which had evaded their roadblock.

He said police discovered a USB modulator — which Jeke claimed he saw in Ndlovu’s hand and mistook for a weapon — was in fact tucked into his waist band.

Mnguni said he couldn’t find that Croeser and Jeke formed a common purpose to shoot the victim, and Croeser was therefore not guilty of murder.

For the same reason, Croeser was also acquitted on a charge of deliberately tampering with the murder scene to make it seem Ndlovu had been armed.

The judge said even if the court accepted testimony by two “credible” witnesses, Jabulani Nsibande and Nkosinathi Gumede, that Croeser shouted, “Shoot, shoot” just before Jeke fired at Ndlovu, there was no evidence that he had intention to commit murder.

The judge said there was no evidence Croeser was even aware prior to the shooting that there was a passenger in the bakkie concerned because the windows were tinted.

The judge, however, accepted evidence by witnesses that they saw Croeser assaulting the driver of the bakkie, Mthokozisi Manganyela, at the scene of the shooting.

After the court’s verdict, Croeser and Jeke both spent the lunch hour in the court cells as their bail was immediately cancelled.

However, the court later reinstated Croeser’s bail of R10 000 pending sentencing procedures, which will start tomorrow.

Croeser, a former member of the SAPS dog unit, gained notoriety when he was convicted of stabbing his wife, Erika, to death at their Albert Falls home in the early hours of August 28, 2010, and sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment.

He is at present on bail in that case, pending his appeal against his conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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