Police agree to pay victims shot by escaped prisoner at Vryheid

2014-06-12 00:00

THE police service is to pay an undisclosed amount to the traumatised victims of an escaped prisoner who shot dead Vryheid businessman Gerhardus “Lood” Krause (58) more than a decade ago.

The prisoner also wounded Krause’s ex-wife, Carolina Krause and Richard Grobler.

The minister of Police accepted liability for the damages claims lodged by Krause and Grobler, who were shot by Steven Mtshali — one of eight prisoners who overpowered a policeman, stole his service pistol and escaped from Vryheid police cells on November 22, 2003.

Krause sued the state for R3 million and Grobler sued for close to a million rand, according to court documents.

However, the final terms of the settlement thrashed out at the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday by lawyers remains a closely guarded secret. A condition of the settlement agreement was that Grobler and Krause and their representatives would not grant interviews or comment in the media.

The amount of damages settled on is also confidential.

According to media reports, Mtshali was involved in a shooting spree following his escape during which he shot at and missed at least three people, before entering the Krause residence.

Court papers reveal that at the time of the shooting, Lood Krause and his wife — who worked as a window dresser — were divorced, but planned to remarry again a few months later.

Carolina Krause was shot first, sustaining injuries to her jaw, right arm and chest.

After hearing more gunshots, she found her partner’s lifeless body lying in another room in a pool of blood.

Grobler was visiting his fiancée when he heard gunshots and went to investigate.

He saw Mtshali hiding behind a tree and ordered him to leave but Mtshali opened fire on him.

Grobler sustained a superficial gunshot wound to his stomach and was also shot in his left leg.

Reports by medical experts revealed that Carolina Krause is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder resulting from the shooting, for which she is likely to require lifelong treatment.

She also suffers from physical problems such as having difficulty in writing.

According to one report, the incident left her “terrified, tearful and depressed” with a tendency to suffer flashbacks and have nightmares.

She had several relapses and had to be readmitted to hospital for treatment after her initial recovery.

Grobler too is said to be scarred for life by his experience and will always be vulnerable.

He was also diagnosed with chronic post traumatic stress disorder.

According to a specialist psychiatrist, he’d achieved closure “on the surface” by moving house, changing his job and getting married and starting a family, but could suffer a relapse under stress.

Mtshali, who was re-arrested that same day, after he opened fire on police from a toilet in the Krause home, was later convicted on a string of charges including attempted murder and murder, and was sentenced to an effective 25 years’ imprisonment.

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