Mother describes N3 shooting

2008-10-27 00:00

Estcourt mother Sarah Sathar described in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday a shooting on the N3 in May 2007 in which the driver of their vehicle, Vinod Ramsarup, was killed, she was shot multiple times, and her daughter (8) was grazed by a bullet and covered in blood.

Sathar told Judge Achmat Jappie and an assessor she did not first realise that the blood on her child was her own blood and that of Ramsarup.

She said after the shooting, the crying child placed her hands together. “She said, ‘Please Allah … please God, don’t let my mommy die’.”

Sathar said she does not want her daughter to testify in court as she is still very traumatised.

The man on trial for murder and attempted murder in connection with the incident, Mohamed Azeem Yunus (34) of Estcourt, pleaded not guilty and claimed in a statement that he reacted in “self defence” after he saw Sathar in a passing vehicle point a silver handgun at him.

Believing she was going to shoot him, he grabbed his firearm from between the front seats and fired at the bakkie she was in.

“I continued firing shots until I was able to get in front of the bakkie and to pass between it and the truck in front of me.

“The events of the past, together with what I saw on that day, convinced me that the complainant [Sathar] wanted to kill me and my reaction was always in the belief that I was acting in self defence,” he said.

Sathar denied that she was armed with a firearm that day, as she was en route to visit her son, Mohamed Shoaib Sathar, in prison where he was awaiting trial for the murder of Yunus’s youngest sister.

Sathar said Yunus is her husband’s cousin and the two families were on good terms before the murder of Yunus’s sister on September 15, 2005.

When he was killed, Ramsarup’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s first baby, she testified.

Sathar said she noticed Yunus, accompanied by his wife, their baby and someone else, travelling ahead of them and told Ramsarup not to overtake them. But when Yunus continued to slow down, she changed her mind and told him to overtake.

When the cars were side by side, she saw Yunus put his hand out of the window and fire a number of shots.

Sathar said she was injured in her left shoulder and neck by the first volley of shots. When she turned her back to protect her daughter, she was shot three times in the back. Two fingers on her right hand were shot off as she was trying to push her daughter down.

Sathar said the bakkie veered out of control and crossed from the northbound to the southbound highway. She grabbed the steering wheel with the remaining fingers on her right hand as she could not move her left arm. Ramsarup was slumped to the side. Blood spurted from a hole in the left side of his head.

The vehicle eventually came to a halt in the grass in the centre of the highway. The case is proceeding.

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