Cape Town driver guilty of kids' deaths

2011-12-12 13:05
Cape Town - Taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was found guilty on Monday of murdering 10 schoolchildren who were killed when his minibus was hit by a train at a level crossing at Blackheath outside Cape Town last year.

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney found Humphreys, 55, guilty on 10 charges of murder and four of attempted murder.

Relatives of the children who had packed into the public gallery gasped as Henney delivered the verdict. Some burst into tears and sobbed.

Humphreys remained expressionless and kept his hands clasped in front of him.

He faced 10 charges of murder, or alternatively manslaughter, as well as four of attempted murder, or assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

‘No other conclusion’

Humphreys was transporting children to school in a taxi on August 25 last year when he overtook a row of cars and ignored safety signals at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath.

A train hit the taxi and 10 of the children died.

Henney said he not could think of a better example of a person being able to foresee the consequences of their actions when he shot through the level crossing.

"What other conclusion could a person reach?"

Outside court relatives of Liesl August, 11, Cody Erasmus, 15, Jody Phillips, 13, Reece Smith, 7; Nolan February, 13, Michaelin de Koker, 11, Jason Pedro, 14, Nadine Marthinissen, 16, Jeane-Pierre Willeman, 13, and Jade Adams, 10, cried and embraced each other.

"I am happy that justice has been done," said Vanique Skippos, a relative of Marthinissen.

On Friday prosecutor Susan Galloway told the court that Humphreys could have foreseen the consequences of skipping through a closed train level crossing.

She said she would show Humphreys had subjectively foreseen the possibility of his act causing death and was therefore insensitively reckless.

Strange loss of memory

Defence lawyer Johann Engelbrecht said during the trial that Humphreys suffered from retrograde amnesia and could not remember anything from the time his taxi stood still at the Buttskop level crossing to the time he woke up and was taken to hospital.

Henney said it was strange that Humphreys remembered the moment just before the accident but nothing else.

He said if Humphreys' vehicle had stood still behind another vehicle, it should have been that vehicle which was hit.

The judgment comes as the National Prosecuting Authority takes a tougher stance against reckless drivers.

Less than two weeks ago, the NPA announced its decision to charge people responsible for fatal car accidents with murder instead of culpable homicide.

The authority’s reasoning is that if it can be proved that a motorist foresaw the possibility of an accident, but took the risk anyway, there is a form of intention to cause death.

Humphreys will be sentenced in February next year.
- News24
Read more on:    jacob humphreys  |  cape town  |  schoolbus tragedy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
71 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.