Facebook threats in rugby attack case

2014-03-11 13:43
(Karen Bleier, AFP)

(Karen Bleier, AFP)

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Durban - A State witness and a man accused of taking part in the fatal attack on a former Royal Marine at a Durban rugby match were threatened while they were in court.

The Durban Regional Court was told on Tuesday that witness Grant Cramer received a message through Facebook that his "day would come".

Prosecutor Krishen Shah said Cramer received the threat on his phone on Monday while he was giving evidence in the case against brothers Blayne and Kyle Shepard, Andries van der Merwe, and Dustin van Wyk.

The four men each face one charge of murder, three of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and one of crimen injuria.

They are accused of beating former Royal Marine Brett Williams to death outside Kings Park Rugby Stadium following a Super Rugby match between the Sharks and the Melbourne Rebels in Durban in March last year.

Cramer told the court he had received the message from somebody called Anton Schutte.

The message read to court said: "You think because you let go after you choked him and your friends kicked him to death that you are not part of this murder. You fucking are pal and your day will come. Bunch of cowards! Poes!"

Threatening message

Cramer said he did not know who Schutte was and had received the message while he was giving evidence before the lunch break.

It also emerged that Blayne Shepard had also received a threatening message via Facebook.

Christo van Schalkwyk, for Shepard, told the court Shepard's message had been sent to his client five minutes before that received by Cramer.

It was also read to the court and contained numerous expletives.

The Facebook profile or profiles of the person who had sent the messages had been deleted.

Van Schalkwyk said his client also said he did not know who sent the message.

Cramer said he and the four accused had received threats ever since the incident happened.

Cramer, who was being cross-examined by Van Schalkwyk, denied that he had contributed to Williams's death.

Cramer was initially charged with assault, but told the court he had believed he faced a murder charge along with the four others.

Cramer and Blayne Shepard were best friends prior to the incident and had been gym partners.

He denied Van Schalkwyk's assertion that he had been part of the attack involving the four accused.

On Monday Cramer told the court that he and Williams had twice had an altercation during the night, after Williams had allegedly sworn at his girlfriend, before the attack that involved the four accused.

All four have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial continues.

- SAPA
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