Khakhu manipulated witnesses - State

2015-03-17 16:17
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The man accused of shooting dead Westbury toddler Luke Tibbetts had tried to manipulate witnesses to soften the case against him, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Tuesday.

"You and your family are being implicated... by manipulating witnesses to make the case go away," prosecutor Deon van Wyk told the accused, Lindray Khakhu, during cross-examination.

Khakhu allegedly sent his ex-girlfriend and witness Zhane van der Westhuizen SMSes apologising for how he had treated her and asking for her help.

His mother phoned her to find out if she was testifying in the case, Van Wyk said.

According to Van der Westhuizen, Khakhu sent her sister a Facebook message saying the reason Van der Westhuizen was testifying against him was because she was dating a druglord called Dice.

Khakhu, 22, is on trial for two murders, including that of Tibbetts, five counts of attempted murder, 10 of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one of pointing a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges.

Tibbetts, 3, was shot in the head in Steytler Street, Westbury, on 2 August last year while sitting on his mother's lap in a car, as Khakhu allegedly shot at another car with Keenan Mokwena in it.

Mokwena was wounded. Tibbetts died in hospital six days later.

Earlier in the trial, the court ordered Khakhu's family and the witnesses not to make contact with each other.

Van Wyk argued that Khakhu had laid a case against State witness Shane Williams, for allegedly shooting at him and his girlfriend several months earlier, to prevent Williams from testifying against him.

Williams allegedly shot at Khakhu and his pregnant girlfriend in June 2013. Khakhu opened a case against him in February 2014.

"You wait... and your timing is impeccable. You want Shane Williams to be arrested just before he gives evidence in this trial," Van Wyk put to Khakhu.

Khakhu denied this.

The shooting

Van Wyk alleged that Khakhu tried to manipulate one of the witnesses in a previous attempted murder case against him. Van Wyk said that according to evidence, Khakhu visited the victim in hospital and offered to pay for the removal of the bullet from his body if he agreed to drop the case against him.

Earlier, Khakhu testified that he had not deliberately shot at Mokwena's car. He said he shot into the ground after Mokwena pointed a gun at him, to scare him away.

Being led in giving evidence by his lawyer Sog van Eck, Khakhu said he had not seen the car Tibbetts and his family were in and had not intended to kill the toddler.

"When you fired into the ground did you have any intention of trying to murder anyone?" Van Eck asked him.

"I was trying to scare them off," Khakhu replied.

Khakhu, wearing a powder blue jersey and ankle chains, spoke softly and often had to be asked to speak up.

During cross examination, he became defensive and often refused to answer questions, prompting Van Wyk to say he would ask the court to make an inference about his demeanour if he did not answer.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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