Croeser witness saw ‘boot print’ at murder scene

2011-09-21 00:00

THE future brother-in-law of accused wife murderer, Morné Croeser, Barry Bezuidenhout, testified yesterday he had found a distinctive boot print in the corner of the Croeser’s garden and similar tracks leading across the veld to a stream from where it was possible to observe the front of Croeser’s house.

Bezuidenhout was the final witness to testify for the defence in support of Croeser’s version that his wife, Erika, was attacked and stabbed 14 times by an intruder who then stabbed him in the stomach in the early hours of August 28 last year.

Bezuidenhout, an executive producer with a film company, said he lives in Cape Town but his fiancée, Croeser’s sister, lives with her parents in Pietermaritzburg.

He and his daughter were visiting that weekend and it had been his idea that Morné and Erika’s two children should stay over with them for the night of August 27 to get to know his daughter better, he said.

During the early hours of the next morning the family were woken up by police and told about Erika’s murder.

Bezuidenhout said that when he visited the crime scene with Croeser’s father that morning it was “chaos”.

“There must have been 10 to 15 motor vehicles there … a lot of people were going in and coming out of the cordoned-off area, none of whom seemed to take any precautions about being on a crime scene,” he said.

When he went there again to fetch the children’s clothing and toys, Bezuidenhout said, it seemed as if the police were concentrating their investigations inside the house in the kitchen area and no one was focusing on the outside.

Bezuidenhout said he noticed a “black smudge” on a wall in the passage, which police witnesses testified they did not observe.

He’d decided to “look around” and in a corner of the garden about half a metre from the fence observed a boot print which “appeared distinctively different from all the other prints in the garden”.

From there he’d walked across a stretch of burned veld towards a nearby stream.

In the bushes alongside it he’d found a place where it appeared as if people had sat down, and from there discovered a trail of two sets of prints that led to the railway line and to trees growing alongside Albert Falls Dam.

The trail crossed a dirt road where there was a “very distinct boot print” visible in the sand, not unlike the one in the garden, he alleged.

Bezuidenhout said he told police at the scene what he’d discovered and showed them the prints.

Under cross-examination he agreed he has no formal training as a tracker, but said he has been hunting since the age of six and knows how to follow spoor.

The case was postponed to October 25 for legal argument in the high court sitting at Scottburgh.

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