Man choked before death

2014-03-12 00:00

THE Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday heard graphic detail on how former Royal Marine Brett Williams was choked until his body went limp on the night he died.

Brothers Blayne and Kyle Shepard, Andries van der Merwe and Dustin van Wyk are facing charges of murder, three charges of assault, a charge of public violence and one of crimen injuria for the 2013 incident that took place after a rugby match at King’s Park Stadium.

Grant Cramer had been initially charged with murder but the state withdrew the charge last year.

Cramer on Monday told the court how he had used a neck-lock on Williams after the latter had spotted him and his girlfriend arguing and had approached.

Cramer said when he used the neck-lock, Williams had collapsed and had then been attacked alleged by the Shepard brothers, Van der Merwe and Van Wyk.

Yesterday Cramer again took the stand and under cross-examination by defence attorney Christo van Schalkwyk, who represents the Shepard brothers, was asked to describe in detail how he applied the neck-lock on Williams.

The former bouncer told the court that he had held Williams in a “neck-lock” after the former had punched him in the face, cutting his lip.

“At the Rovers Club I had about three doubles of alcohol … I was not drunk. I heard the deceased insulting my girlfriend. The atmosphere was tense, and he threw the first punch at me. In the first instance, I pulled him down but when he got up he charged at me again. It is when he threw a second punch at me, but missed, that I applied the neck-lock technique,” said Cramer.

When asked by Van Schalkwyk how long he had held Williams in that position, he said until Williams fell, but he did not remember how he landed on the tar surface.

“I thought he was on drugs or something because I’ve never seen such aggression.”

Asked if he had used the neck-lock technique before, Cramer said he had only used it on his brothers when they were fooling around.

“You squeezed that neck. You wanted to do so until the deceased passes out and you would continue until he stopped elbowing you. As his face was centimetres from you, did you see that man’s face swelling up?” asked Van Schalkwyk, and Cramer replied that he did not.

The attorney told the court that Williams’s body weight was rested on his left knee as it was injured.

“I’m suggesting that you twisted his body towards the left, hence the injury to the left knee. You said you moved away from him but there are witnesses who said they had to jump in and separate you,” he said. Cramer denied this as lies.

The trial continues today with further cross-examination of Cramer’s evidence.

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