Farmer tells court of burning bodies
Pretoria - He was "beside himself" when he decided to burn the bodies of the two suspected poachers his teenage son had shot on their farm, a North West game farmer told the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.
Douw de Beer, 51, and his son Dyllan, 19, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Morris Morua, 36, and Zacharia Leso, 35, from Ramokokastad on their farm Deo Gloria, near Brits, on April 11 2004.
In his plea explanation, De Beer jun admitted shooting the men, but said he had been acting in self defence because they had been shooting at him.
His father admitted defeating the ends of justice by burning the bodies.
Both have denied stealing Morua's cellphone.
A tearful De Beer sen testified that his son, who had been a Grade 11 pupil at the time, went to shoot an impala that afternoon, but returned home several hours later in a shocked state.
His son said there had been poachers on the farm who had fired shots at him and that he had returned fire.
The two of them jumped into a bakkie and rushed to the scene.
"I could at that stage see my child was in a state of shock. He was trembling so much he could not hold the rifle," said De Beer sen.
"He was sobbing and could not really talk to me. I realised something was terribly wrong," he said.
At the fence dividing the De Beer land from a trust area next door, he found four aggressive dogs and a man lying dead in the fire break.
"I had a huge fright. I was terribly upset and could not believe what I was seeing.
"... I felt his neck to feel for a pulse, but I immediately realised the person was dead.
"... Dyllan started sobbing again. He said 'dad, this is not the person I shot'.
"I was totally confused. Here a man was lying dead in front of me and Dyllan said he didn't shoot him.
"... I started walking down the fence and came across another person about 30m further on.
"He was lying on his stomach and he had been wearing brown boots and a camouflage uniform.
"I was beside myself. I did not know what to do... A million things went through my mind.
"I decided I had to clean up," he said.
De Beer sen fired several shots at the dogs, gathered shells and other exhibits at the scene and loaded the bodies onto the back of his bakkie.
After dropping his son at home, he burnt the bodies on a stack of wood.
The first time he fully realised what had happened was when his son spoke to him in the kitchen later that night.
"I realised my emotions had taken control and came to the conclusion that my son had been attacked when he went hunting.
"I thanked God that my son was alive and had not been shot.
"I realised I should have phoned the police because all the evidence was there.
"I also realised it was too late. I did what I did. I was very angry with myself.
"I later heard that one of the men had two children.
"I was truly sorry about what had happened, but it had already been done," he said.
The trial was postponed to April 9.