Court hears of frantic petrol-bomb call

2011-08-04 21:16

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Cape Town - A man in charge of community safety in Camp's Bay received a frantic phone call from a Clifton resident whose home was petrol-bombed, the Cape Town Regional Court heard on Thursday.

Bernard Schaefer, also of Camp's Bay, was testifying in the trial of Shumsheer Singh Ghumman, before magistrate Herman Pieters, on charges of fraud, incitement to commit murder, attempted murder and malicious damage.

The hearing arises from Ghumman's obsession with Capetonian Hannah Rhind, a public relations executive in the United Kingdom.

He allegedly came up with a plan to kill her father, Philip, who lives in Clifton, when he tried to intervene on his daughter's behalf.

Do the right thing

Schaefer told the court he knew about the bomb incident from an alert on police radio the night that it happened.

After the incident, Schaefer arranged for a security guard at the Rhind home, for the family's safety.

Two days later, Schaefer received a frantic call from Rhind about a strange man on his property who wanted to harm him.

"I arrived, to find a black man going up the driveway," Schaefer told the court.

He confronted the man, who said he had come to assist the family with information.

"The man said he had been sent to do a bad thing, but he was not prepared to do it and had come to the Rhind home to do the right thing.

"He said he knew everything about the Rhinds and their daughter Hannah, and that he had been sent to 'take out' the father."

Schaefer said he asked the man what he meant by "take out" and the man said to kill the father.

The man said he had been sent by a man named Michael, who was an Asian Indian.

Bogus journalist

The man told Schaefer that he had met Michael, that they had had a few drinks together and that Michael had asked him to "assist with a situation".

The man told Schaefer he felt uncomfortable and afraid of Michael.

Michael was the false name allegedly used by Ghumman when he arrived in Cape Town as a bogus journalist.

When the police arrived, Schaefer told them the man had come to assist the Rhind family and that he should not be treated like a criminal.

Cross-examined by senior counsel for the defence Francois van Zyl, Schaefer said he had no police authority to arrest anyone, but that he was trained in specialised risk management.

Rhind had called him out of fear that the man wanted to kill him.

The trial continues on August 16.

- SAPA

Read more on:    shumsheer singh ghumman  |  cape town
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