Margate pub murder: 3 off the hook

2013-10-23 09:04


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Durban - South Coast accused Jakes Putter and Douw van der Walt walked free from the high court in Ramsgate on Tuesday after being acquitted of the murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm of Margate pub patron Lwandile Mampofu in 2011.

Their co-accused, Carel Volschenk, who was only charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, was also found not guilty and discharged by Judge Jerome Mnguni sitting with an assessor. The judge granted the men an acquittal at the end of the State’s case.


The court agreed with submissions by defence advocate Shane Matthews and Wynand Bezuidenhout that the evidence given by State witnesses at the trial could not be relied upon.

Mnguni said the various State witnesses who had testified about an alleged altercation that occurred inside the Lighthouse Pub between Mampofu and Putter before the murder, had given different versions of events that could not be reconciled with one another.

Judge Mnguni said in these circumstances it was not possible for the court to determine the truth of what had really happened in the pub.

The court also rejected the evidence of a key State witness Sherwin Basdew who testified that he had witnessed Putter and Van der Walt dragging Mampofu from his hiding place in some bushes alongside Homestead Road in the wake of the brawl at the pub, and “stamping” on his head.

The judge said Basdew’s evidence could not be relied on because he had failed to mention the names of the alleged assailants in his police statement, even though he claimed in his evidence in court that he knew who they were.

Police investigation criticised

The court criticised the police investigation into the case, particularly the failure by police to obtain CCTV footage that must have been available in respect of the events that occurred both inside and outside the pub on the night in question.

A fourth man who was linked to the bar brawl involving Mampofu on the night he was killed, Petrus Opperman, 47, previously entered into a plea agreement with the State in terms of which he was fined R10 000 (or three years’ imprisonment), half suspended, after pleading guilty to assault.

Mampofu was killed following the alleged brawl that started in the Lighthouse Pub on the night of 14 August 2011.

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