Man tells how his brother died

2010-03-16 00:00

A DRUMMOND man gave an emotional description in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday of how his brother was shot dead, while the two of them fought to prevent an intruder escaping from their cottage in Drummond during the night of December 10 2007.

Digby Vroom was testifying before Judge Gregory Kruger and assessors at the trial of Makhosonke Kelvin Zuma (26), charged with the murder of Mark William Vroom and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Zuma pleaded not guilty and yesterday told the court that Digby Vroom was “mistaken” when he identified him as one of the assailants who stood outside the house that night, trying to help free a co-perpetrator who had entered through a pet access grid in the security gate.

Zuma claims he was at his parental home in Greytown for the whole month of December 2007, attending a ceremony on behalf of his late father.

Two men who earlier pleaded guilty to taking part in the attack, Nhlanhla Dlamini and Sisho Msibi, identified Zuma as their accomplice. However, Zuma responded that both men bore a grudge against him, as Dlamini had accused him of having an affair with the mother of his child.

Dlamini is serving a life sentence for his role, and Msibi an effective 25 years’ imprisonment.

Digby Vroom said he recognised Zuma from the night of the attack. Wiping tears from his eyes on occasions as he recalled his brother’s death, Digby Vroom said he was woken at about 11.30 pm by a commotion.

Looking down the passage he saw his brother, Mark, “having an altercation with a black person in the house”.

Vroom said he ran to help his brother and grabbed a model ship with which he hit the assailant on the head.

The man dived for the gate to get away and he “jumped” on him.

He said the intruder lay on his back trying to get through the gate and he jumped on his private parts.

“There was a lot of commotion going on at that stage, and shouting. The fellow I was standing on was shouting for his friends to come and help him,” he said.

Vroom said Zuma charged at him with a stick or mop as he held onto the gate, but he refused to let the suspect go.

“My brother was coming from the right side to help me. I heard a sound like someone throwing a brick through a window and out of the corner of my eye I saw my brother collapsing, as if someone gave him a knockout punch,” he said. “I then saw a fellow pointing a firearm at me. He was standing outside the door to the left, next to the fellow in the dock [Zuma],” he said.

“My brother was lying on the floor on his back with blood pouring out of the back of his head… he was dead.”

Vroom said he ran to where he knew his brother kept a firearm and fired a shot outside. He then called the police.

The case is proceeding.

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