Murder case: Witnesses 'saw Shaw leave'

2008-11-23 00:00

Shortly after gunshots sounded at the home shared by Hilton Shaw (57) and his wife, Susan, at Lake Lyndhurst near Fort Nottingham in July last year, he was seen leaving the house and walking down to the lake.

This evidence was given in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday by Doris Ndlovu, an employee of a homeowner at the lake, Kobus Kruger.

Hilton Shaw’s defence advocate, Shane Matthews, later suggested to Ndlovu — who wears glasses — that she would have been unable to make out the identity, or even the gender or race of a person, from where she claimed to have seen Shaw.

Shaw has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife and has suggested in a statement that she was killed by an intruder.

Ndlovu told Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner and her assessor on Friday that she had been gardening on the afternoon of Sunday, June 3, last year when she heard noises coming from the Shaw’s residence on the opposite side of the lake.

The noises, like “running footsteps”, “sounded like children playing”.

“I thought it was children chasing each other round the house,” she said. The Shaw’s two dogs — one big and one small — were also barking, she said.

Close to 5 pm she heard the sound of gunfire and then the noises stopped. “Even the dogs stopped barking,” she said.

Ndlovu said soon afterwards the dogs started howling and barking and came to the front of the house.

“I saw Hilton Shaw go down the stairs towards the lake. After a short while he came back and walked up the stairs again and he went to the dogs and quietened them down. He then proceeded on to the verandah … It was not a long time after the shot,” she said.

Under cross-examination by Matthews, Ndlovu said she does not know why her statement to police does not contain the information that she saw Shaw go to the lake. Matthews also suggested to her that her employer claims she did not tell him about that.

Ndlovu responded that she may have forgotten, although she believed she had told them about it. She was shocked at the time, she said.

The court also heard testimony on Friday from Simon Madlala, a caretaker at the cottage of Mike Southwood, another neighbour of the Shaws.

Madlala said that on the day of the incident he was up on the roof painting when he observed “shadows” of what he believed were people moving about in front of the verandah of the house.

Towards 5 pm he heard the sound of an “explosion” or “something being fired”.

A short while later he saw a white bakkie — like the one owned by Shaw — leave the premises. The vehicle disappeared from view.

The hearing resumes today.

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