Man recounts horror of hijacking

2008-02-29 00:00

A British citizen who witnessed the shooting of his friend and fellow 'good samaritan' in a hijacking incident in Hillcrest in February 2006, gave evidence in the high court here yesterday at the trial of one of the alleged attackers, Mthethowakhe Wilfred Nzama (26).

Nzama pleaded not guilty before Judge Ron McLaren to the murder of Lyle Andrew Stephens and to the robbery with aggravating circumstances of Stephens and his passenger, Justin Roberts.

Roberts told the court he was visiting South Africa at the time to help with voluntary charity work. He and Stephens had set out on February 9, 2006, to deliver food to an orphanage in the kwaNyuswa area in Stephens's Daihatsu Charade car.

Whilst driving up a hill four men appeared about 20 metres ahead and came towards them. Suddenly one man produced a gun and fired two shots at them.

Roberts said as they kept on going more shots were fired. He thought about five shots in all went off.

After realising Stephens had been hit, Roberts stopped the car and was ordered out by the men.

The gang removed the injured Stephens from the car and left him at the roadside. They drove off with the vehicle.

The court heard how Roberts flagged down other vehicles for help. Two taxi drivers, who stopped, had been unwilling to get involved. Two men in a bakkie stopped and took Stephens to a local clinic but they were told by staff there that they were not equipped to deal with Stephens's injuries.

En route to Botha's Hill, they were stopped by paramedics who treated Stephens and transferred him to an ambulance, but he was certified dead on arrival at hospital.

A man currently serving a sentence of life plus 15 years imprisonment for the same offences, Fana Khenisa, also testified for the state yesterday, and named Nzama as a member of the hijack gang.

The trial is proceeding.

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