Witness to be recalled after expert evidence

2009-06-02 00:00

A STATE witness in the trial of wife murder accused, Hilton Shaw (58) — which resumed in the high court here yesterday — is to be recalled to testify in the wake of expert evidence relating to the climate and other environmental factors at the time that Susan Shaw was shot dead.

She was killed on June 3, 2007 at the house she shared with her husband at Lake Lyndhurst, a remote country estate near Fort Nottingham in the midlands.

An employee of the South African Weather Service, Sanjeev Sewnarain, and horticultural expert and curator of the Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg, Brian Tarr, gave expert testimony yesterday.

They were asked to prepare reports at the request of Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner when the trial adjourned late last year.

The judge said at the time that some of the critical issues the court will have to decide in the case relate to what state witnesses Doris Ndlovu and Simon Madlala — who were working in the vicinity of the Shaw homestead on the day in question — “could or could not see or hear”.

This could have been influenced by environmental factors such as the weather.

The judge yesterday indicated that she has further questions for Simon Madlala, who will be re-called today.

Sewnarain said his records showed that the weather was clear on the day in question.

When the trial got underway last year, Shaw handed in a statement in which he said he suspected his wife may have been attacked by an intruder.

Shaw said he had left Susan at home while he drove to a point about 300 to 400 metres away where he could receive a cellphone signal. He was gone for about 10 to 15 minutes. On his return to the house he saw his wife, face down on the verandah, bleeding.

In his later testimony he said that when he first saw her injury he had assumed she tried to kill herself, but later came to the conclusion an intruder shot her.

He said his wife had suffered from epilepsy, was under psychiatric treatment and had twice before tried to commit suicide by overdosing on medication.

Shaw testified that he loved his wife and said they parted on good terms the day she died. He said she had hugged and kissed him before he left the house.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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