Killer ‘struck mill manager with gun to scare him’

2014-12-10 00:00

THE man who killed a Dalton sugar mill manager on June 29 says he hit him over the head with his gun to “scare” him.

Carl Wessels (55) was killed in the incident at Bellview Farm in New Hanover.

“I had not removed my finger from the trigger … the deceased [Wessels] was struck in the head by the bullet,” Ayanda Mathobela (34) said when he pleaded guilty before Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati and an assessor yesterday.

The shooting happened in full view of Wessels’s wife of 31 years, Wendy, and friends Robert and Peddy Wilson.

They were ambushed and robbed on their return from enjoying lunch together in Pietermaritzburg.

The court heard that Mathobela’s accomplices, Lindo and Sthembiso Mtshali, are still at large.

Mathobela will be sentenced on Friday.

He said in his plea that he and his co-conspirators had planned to rob Robert Wilson because Lindo told them he had a safe with cash in his house. Mathobela agreed to take part because he was unemployed and needed money.

He carried a gun, Lindo a stick and Sthembiso a knife, he said.

When they got to the farm, no one was home.

They then waited until the friends arrived.

“We demanded money from them, while I brandished my firearm and fired warning shots,” he said.

They took R150 and two cellphones.

Mathobela said Wessels was glaring at him and seemed aggressive. He struck him on his head to scare him and shot him in the head.

After the shooting they fled.

“I was extremely devastated and very shocked when my husband was killed at my side. My life was also in danger. I was overcome by grief, loss, anger and disbelief,” Wendy Wessels said in a victim impact statement read to the court.

She and her daughters were affected psychologically and emotionally. One daughter developed post-traumatic stress disorder and the other gave up her job to move in with her mother.

Wessels said she upgraded security at home and now has 24-hour armed response.

She cannot sleep at night due to trauma, grief and fear.

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