Rugby attack accused escorted players

2014-03-13 17:53

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Durban - A man accused of kicking and tramping a former Royal Marine to death at Durban's Kings Park rugby stadium was employed by a security firm, the Durban Regional Court heard on Thursday.

The firm was commissioned to escort rugby players from the bus to the change rooms.

A manager of Fidelity Security Guards at the stadium who identified the accused as one of the attackers who killed Brett Williams on that fateful night denied it was he who had hired Blayne Shepard.

Neil Burger, who told the court he knew Shepard by sight and first name, said he knew little else of the man apart from the fact that he had once been introduced to Shepard by a woman who worked for Fidelity, which was responsible for security at the stadium.

Shepard and his younger brother Kyle, along with 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.

The four are accused of fatally beating Williams on the night of 23 March last year when the Sharks beat the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby match.

Under cross-examination by Shepard's counsel, Christo van Schalkwyk, Burger denied he had appointed Shepard to look after players late in the 2012 rugby season or that Shepard's then girlfriend worked for him.

Van Schalkwyk produced Shepard's Fidelity shirt in a bid to prove that the accused had worked for Fidelity.

Burger retorted that temporary personnel were required to return company clothing once they had finished their shifts. He said he was aware that Shepard had been hired once, but that he had not hired him or provided the uniform.

Called to a fight

On Wednesday Burger told the court during his evidence-in-chief that he had been called to a fight and was punched before he could even intervene and that he had seen Shepard kicking and stomping on Williams.

However, on Thursday it emerged that Burger could not remember what Shepard was wearing.

"You cannot recall a bright pink shirt?" Van Schalkwyk asked.

Burger said he could not.

"I saw the kicking action and the stomping motion."

Burger said examination of closed circuit television cameras had failed to reveal much about the attack as light near where the incident occurred shone directly into the camera's lens distorting the pictures.

Van Schalkwyk told the court he would produce medical evidence that none of the injuries sustained by Williams were consistent with the version of kicking and stomping as alleged by Burger.

"You lead the evidence. I know what I saw," Burger replied.

- SAPA
Read more on:    durban  |  crime
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