Clifton petrol bomb 'gave culprit away'

2011-08-03 21:45
Cape Town - The word "Hannah" on a petrol bomb hurled at the Clifton, Cape Town home of businessman Philip Rhind led him to suspect Shumsheer Singh Ghumman, the Cape Town Regional Court heard on Wednesday.

"What are the chances that see your daughter's name on a petrol bomb? On the bottle was a piece of tape with 'Hannah' on it. I thought my goodness, it's Ghumman," Rhind testified.

Rhind's daughter Hannah was granted a restraining order against Ghumman in December 2009 by a court in the United Kingdom.

In August 2010, he was found guilty of harassing her father and sentenced to a fine and 180 hours of community service.

Went back to sleep

Prosecutors Billy Downer SC and Fiona Cloete allege Ghumman followed the daughter when she went home to her parents in South Africa after his London conviction.

Ghumman is on trial before Magistrate Herman Pieters, on charges of fraud, incitement to commit murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.

Ghumman allegedly hurled two wine bottles filled with petrol onto the balcony of the Rhind home in the early hours of January 14.

The Rhind couple did not hear the explosions as the petrol ignited on the balcony. When the blaze activated their security alarm, waking the couple, they thought it was the neighbour's cat and went back to sleep.

It was only the next morning that Rhind's wife noticed the damage caused to their patio, and that Rhind found the bottle with their daughter's name on it.

Tried to hire a hitman

According to the charge sheet, Ghumman first tried to get a hitman to hurl the bombs, but did it himself when the hitman declined.

Later, the same man who had declined Ghumman's proposition, told Rhind of it.

Rhind told the court: "A man rang the bell on my gate. He had a file, and said he needed to talk to me nicely for just 10 minutes.

"He said there was someone who wanted to hurt me. He said the man's name was Michael, from Australia, and that Michael wants to do a hit on me."

The trial continues on Thursday.

- SAPA
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