High five followed fatal beating

2014-03-13 05:30
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Durban - Blayne Shepard kicked a former Royal Marine and gave a friend a high-five after a Super XV rugby match in Durban, the city's Regional Court heard on Wednesday.

Moments later Brett Williams was declared dead.

Fidelity Security Services manager Neil Burger said he had been on duty at Kings Park on the night of 23 March when the Sharks beat the Melbourne Rebels and Williams was fatally beaten.

Brothers Blayne and Kyle Shepard, Andries van der Merwe, and Dustin van Wyk each face a charge of murder, three of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and one of crimen injuria.

Burger said that he went to the scene of the fight on one of the stadium's outfields after receiving a report over his radio, but when he arrived in his golf cart there was no fight.

"There was no fight in progress. Things seemed to have quietened down. I could sense the situation was still volatile."

He said that there were two groups of people, one of which appeared to be more agitated than the other.

He then noticed Williams standing next to a pump house and a man in a green shirt shooing people away.

"He was saying 'Go away. Leave him alone'," Burger recounted.

It was then that Burger noticed a man step away from the crowd, looking on the ground for a chain that had been hanging around his neck.

"At that stage all hell broke loose."

A group of people surged forward towards where Williams had been.

Burger said he got out of the golf cart with the intention of intervening in the fight but as he approached he was hit.

High five

"As I got to the group I collected a punch on the right hand side of my face. I staggered back and fell down. I have no idea who hit me. I never saw it coming."

Burger said he picked himself up and returned to his golf cart. He then saw Williams lying on the ground.

"I then saw accused number one kicking and stomping him. He stomped on his chest. He then walked past the golf cart and he gave someone a high five."

Burger said he recognised Blayne Shepard and knew him as he had been previously introduced to the man by a woman who worked at Fidelity Security Services. Shepard had been her boyfriend, but Burger only knew him by his first name.

Earlier, the court was told that Grant Cramer, Shepard's best friend and then gym partner, had wanted Williams charged with assault.

Cramer, who in an earlier altercation had held Williams in a choke hold until he passed out, said: "I wanted to lay a charge of assault against the deceased."

Cramer explained that a photograph had been taken of his split lip to be used as evidence.

When asked why, he admitted that he had been upset at Williams punching him.

Cramer said his girlfriend had urged security guards to call police but there had been no response.

The court previously heard that Cramer and Williams had a verbal spat that led to Williams punching Cramer.

Cramer then put Williams in a choke-hold until Williams passed out.

Cramer was initially charged with assault, but has denied being part of the final beating that led to Williams's death.

Christo van Schalkwyk, for the Shepard brothers, questioned Cramer as to whether he was aware that Williams had been robbed at knifepoint the night before in Durban's Florida Road.

He questioned Cramer as to whether he had seen any injuries on Williams prior to his altercation with the former Royal Marine.

The trial continues on Thursday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    durban  |  crime
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