Killing was ‘a pack attack’

2013-04-09 00:00

THE death of Royal Marine Brett Williams outside King’s Park in Durban last month was brutal.

First, he was choked unconscious. Then he was set upon in a “pack attack” that left him with such devastating injuries that paramedics were unable to save his life.

Williams (29) died on the outer rugby fields after 10 pm, despite efforts by security guards to protect him.

Yesterday the men who allegedly killed Williams following a Sharks game on March 23 were freed on bail of R5 000 each.

Durban pals Blayne Shepard (23), his brother Kyle (25), Andries van der Merwe (23) and Dustin van Wyk (23) left the Durban Magistrate’s Court with their families after nearly a week behind bars.

“Yes, thank you, Jesus,” cried Van Wyk’s brother, Ryan (28), when magistrate Vanitha Armu released the men.

While his brother’s bail was being paid, Ryan sobbed as he told The Witness how he and his mother had suffered.

“We lost our father to cancer. My brother means everything to us. He is such a beautiful person; it’s devastating to see this happening to someone that doesn’t deserve it.

“It was the most horrifying feeling to come so close to losing someone we care about again. It has been hell.” A quiet night was planned for the family.

Van Wyk, the Shepard brothers and Van der Merwe each face a charge of murder, three counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one of crimen injuria.

A fifth friend, Grant Cramer (23), was granted R2 000 bail on Thursday. He faces one count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and another of crimen injuria.

All five first attended an identity parade yesterday morning. The court heard that only the younger Shepard was positively identified, and only by one witness.

Prosecutor Krishen Shah opposed bail and relied on affidavits by the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Anand Pillay.

In one affidavit, Pillay said a witness was approached at a Sharks rugby match in Durban last Friday night. “She [the witness] informed me she was approached by an unknown white female who tapped her on the shoulder and threatened her by saying, ‘If you identify my son on Monday, you will be killed’.

“The witness stated she was shocked and the place was so busy that she did not get a good look at this female and would not be able to identify her.”

The mothers handed in affidavits denying the alleged intimidation.

Pillay’s other affidavit gave a harrowing account of the brawl.

It allegedly began with a fight between Williams and Cramer, who got the visiting Briton into a choke-hold that “resulted in the deceased losing consciousness”.

Paramedics revived Williams before guards from Fidelity Security Services stepped in.

Pillay said Cramer’s four friends arrived and allegedly assaulted the guards while hurling racial insults at them.

Williams had taken cover behind the security guards when the Shepard brothers, Van der Merwe and Van Wyk turned on him.

“It is alleged they then physically and viciously attacked the deceased by punching, kicking and stomping on him. After a short while, the savage attack on the deceased stopped.”

The assailants left and paramedics immediately attended to Williams, using advanced life support, but to no avail. He died on the scene, with “visible injuries” to his face, forehead, hands and knees.

Shah said bail should be denied because of the “vicious” nature of the crime and the public outcry locally and internationally, and because the men might interfere with witnesses. A list of witnesses was read out in court, with Cramer’s name among them.

Shah also said there might be recriminations against the accused and that their safety could not be guaranteed.

The men’s legal representatives, arguing for bail, said none of their clients was a flight risk, they had all surrendered to police, they had co-operated with authorities and they had agreed not to contact any witnesses.

The case was postponed to June 7 for a trial date.

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