I didn't touch Marine, murder accused says

2014-12-08 16:57
Brett Williams

Brett Williams

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Durban - Blayne Shepard told the Durban Regional Court on Monday that he did not touch Royal Marine Brett Williams, who he is accused of beating to death.

Under examination by his advocate Christo van Schalkwyk, Shepard said he did not hit, kick, or stomp on Williams, as previous witnesses testified.

Instead, he said he was caught up in a group brawl with security guards and bystanders following news that a friend of his had fought with Williams.

"We were walking to Rocca Bar when we heard that Grant [Kramer], who had been behind us, was in a fight... We rushed back to him. When I asked him what happened he just pointed at the deceased, who was lying motionless in a starfish position on his back," Shepard said.

He said Kramer, who was initially a co-accused but then turned State witness, had a cut on the right side of his lip. He also noticed that Williams had "some white fluid on his cheek".

"Someone then mentioned to Grant that his chain was missing... This caused him to get even more upset. I saw him looking frantically on the ground."

‘Guards got in our faces’

At that point, Shepard testified, someone mentioned that the security guards should be searched.

"The guards got upset and took offence. Then they started coming forward in their numbers."

A fight then broke out between security guards, Shepard and his former co-accused, and bystanders.

Shepard said the guards were "getting in our faces, in my personal space... it was just chaos".

He told the court Williams was still at that point, lying in the same position. However, a short while later he saw him get up and walk away from the brawl. Unbalanced, he then turned around and headed back.

Shepard said he heard Williams scream profanities at the group but was not sure who he was swearing at.

"He advanced, then all hell broke loose. Everyone was pushing and shouting... I got pushed up against the trailer... My immediate reaction was to push back."

Eventually the fight started defusing and Shepard said he saw Williams lying next to the trailer. He did not see him get up again.

Co-accused discharged

Shepard testified that he did not see any of his friends and former co-accused assault Williams.

The 24-year-old stood alone in the dock on Monday after his three co-accused, Andries van der Merwe, Dustin van Wyk, and his older brother Kyle, were discharged last month.

The friends had each faced a charge of murder, three of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, one of crimen injuria, and one of public violence. Shepard was also acquitted of all charges except the murder charge.

Earlier, Shepard testified that in the hours leading up to Williams's death he consumed a beer and three single brandies and coke at the Coyote Supersuite box during and shortly after the game, and then another "three or four" double brandies and coke at the Rovers Club.

However, his fitness levels, weight, and the amount of food he ate meant he was able to handle more alcohol than "an average sized person".

"I was under the influence [of alcohol] but not paralytic," he said.

Williams was beaten to death on 23 March, last year, following a 19:00 Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Melbourne Rebels.

Shepard is still under cross-examination.

Read more on:    brett williams  |  durban  |  crime

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