Pub killing: court draws a blank with Margate crime cameras

2011-08-30 00:00

CLOSED-circuit television footage that would have helped to solve a Margate murder does not exist — because the cameras are not in operation 24 hours a day.

The high court in Ramsgate was told this during a bail application hearing yesterday of murder accused Petros Opperman (46), Douw van der Walt (33), Jakes Putter (33) and Gabriel Volschenk (49).

The men allegedly beat Lwandile Mampofu (26) to death after an altercation over a cigarette at the Lighthouse Pub and Grill in the early hours of August 13.

Court proceedings were put on hold last week as Judge Elise Coetzer ordered police to obtain the footage.

Investigating officer Wiseman Khoza found, however, that the cameras are only in operation “from the morning till 4 pm every day”.

He told the court, “One of the staff in the control room told me that Hibiscus Coast Municipality does not have the funds to pay staff for working longer hours.”

He also advanced reasons as to why the four accused should not obtain bail and he read out statements from eyewitnesses. He said the men are a flight risk, have no stable jobs that require 30 days’ notice of resignation, and have no fixed property.

Khoza said the police occurrence book also placed on record that the accused allegedly planned to escape from prison and that Putter was in possession of a cellphone.

Besides, police had found Volschenk’s belongings packed at his house “as if he was ready to leave”.

Volschenk said he was in fact ready to leave for Johannesburg the day after he had been arrested.

“These men have nothing to lose,” said Khoza.

The accused’s attorney, Christo van Vuuren, asked whether the allegations that his clients plan to leave have been investigated, saying they are simply speculation.

Khoza said he had asked Putter for the clothes he was wearing at the time of the assault in order to have them forensically tested, but Putter said he had thrown away the shirt as he “did not like to see blood”.

“Only accused one’s (Putter’s) pants and shoes could be obtained,” said Khoza.

The pants and shoes are being examined at a pathology lab. Results take about 120 days.

State advocate Sohana Moodley and Van Vuuren will present their arguments tomorrow.

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