Murder: two deny confessing

2014-05-31 00:00

TWO of the three men accused of murdering Underberg farmer Dan Knight deny they are the authors of confessions the prosecution wants to introduce as evidence in their trial.

Knight was bludgeoned to death with a hammer and other weapons last October.

Lawyers for Tsepiso Ramonyane (20) and Bonginkosi Nyawose (33) of Bulwer told Judge Jerome Mnguni and an assessor that the men allege they were assaulted by police who arrested them, and claim they were made to sign statements without knowing what the contents were.

The court is now busy with a trial within a trial to determine whether the confessions can be admitted into evidence.

Ramonyane, Nyawose and Happy Gcina (24) have pleaded not guilty to murdering Knight and to robbing him and his life partner, Beth Bucher, of valuables on the night of October 17 last year.

Bucher described earlier this week how a gang of around five men in balaclavas and dark clothes burst into the farmhouse when she and Knight were sitting down to dinner, armed with guns, a “huge” hammer, a bread knife and a monkey wrench. Shouting that they were going to kill them both, the men tied up the couple with cable ties and kicked and beat Knight over his head with their weapons.

Dr Leon van Schalkwyk of Underberg told the court yesterday that he had thoroughly examined Ramonyane and Nyawose twice each on October 21 last year at the request of police.

He first examined the prisoners at Himeville police station that morning, and again in the afternoon in his rooms.

On each occasion two policemen were present.

Van Schalkwyk said he recorded that Ramonyane had “slight bruising” on his back, but otherwise had no abnormalities. The bruises did not appear to be “fresh” although it was difficult to say exactly when they were inflicted, he said.

He said Nyawose was fine and neither of the men reported any assaults to him.

The case is proceeding.

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