Man killed for phones, booze

2009-05-05 00:00

Mother of two Caroline Pohlman yesterday told a court how her husband was killed and she was assaulted in front of her children — all for three cellphones, a handbag, some cash and a bottle of brandy.

The Pohlmans were attacked on their smallholding at Cliffdale, Hammarsdale, on February 22 last year, and Marc Pohlman (31) was shot dead.

Pohlman told Judge Herbert Msimang and an assessor that the attackers arrived as the sun began to set, at about 7 pm.

She was sitting on the top step of their verandah and her husband was crouched at the bottom using a grinder. Her daughter was “up and down” between the main bedroom and verandah and her small son was watching television.

Suddenly they saw two men walk through the gate, one pointing a firearm at her husband.

Pohlman said initially she did not think the men were going to harm them and thought they were “having their own dispute”.

Her husband tried to “calm” the gunman, saying it was “not necessary” and that he “doesn’t need to shoot”.

“When he realised he couldn’t calm them, he shouted to me to move the children.”

Pohlman said she grabbed them and ran into the bathroom. As she did this, the first shot rang out and she heard a second shot from inside the bathroom.

“The bathroom doesn’t lock, so I had to physically try and keep the door closed. The second man, who didn’t have a gun, began to force his way into the bathroom. He was pushing the door and kicking it. He managed to get his arm and head around the door and at that point he slapped me … he hit me in the face. Then he got into the bathroom and he dragged me back on to the verandah.”

He seemed to want more cellphones, she said. Two that had been on the verandah were missing and she assumed the robbers had taken them. Pohlman told the man there was another cellphone in the bedroom and that he should take it and leave them alone.

At this stage, the gunman appeared on the verandah and spoke to her attacker. “I got the impression he was telling him it was time to go … he was in a panic,” she said.

She said the man let go of her and she ran back to the bathroom and barricaded herself in.

After a while she came out, leaving the children inside, and did a “quick check” to see if anyone was around. She then fetched the children and put them in her car. It was then she saw her husband lying down near the fence. “I went to check on him … At that point from what I could see he had already passed away,” she said.

Pohlman said she drove to her neighbours, who called the police.

According to postmortem findings, Marc Pohlman died of gunshots to the chest and abdomen.

State advocate Dalene Barnard said the state will lead evidence that fingerprints matching those of the two accused were found on the bathroom door at the smallholding, and that cartridges found at the scene of the crime were ballistically linked to a firearm recovered at Malinga’s house. The case is proceeding.

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