‘She was intending to shoot me’

2010-05-11 00:00

MURDER accused Mohamed Azeem Yunus (34) of Estcourt testified in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday that he was “shocked and terrified” when he saw the woman whose son is charged with murdering his sister pointing a silver gun at him through the window of a bakkie that drew alongside him on the N3 southbound on May 17 2007.

Yunus told Judge Achmat Jappie and an assessor that he reached for his own gun, which was in a holster in the gap between the front seats, and as the bakkie drew level he reached through his window and emptied his magazine at the bakkie, firing 17 shots in total.

He said he fired his gun to save his life and that of his passenger, Faizel Shaik.

He testified that he was certain Sarah Sathar intended to kill him, and said she did not shoot him first because he “didn’t give her a chance”.

Asked why he was sure Sathar intended to kill him, he replied that she and her husband are “dangerous people” prone to violence.

Yunus has pleaded not guilty to the murder of bakkie driver Vinod Ramsarup, the attempted murder of Sathar (who was shot multiple times) and her eight-year-old daughter, who, according to Sathar’s evidence, was grazed by a bullet and left covered in blood.

Yunus said he drove to Mooi River where he reported the shooting at a local butchery and called the police.

He disputed Sathar’s evidence that his wife Tasneem and his child were with him in the car when the shooting happened.

Tasneem Yunus later gave evidence supporting his version.

Sathar told the court earlier in the trial that she was being driven to Pietermaritzburg prison by Ramsarup — a family friend — ito visit her son, Shoaib Sathar, when she was shot by Yunus.

Her son is still on trial for the murder of Yunus’s sister, Safia, in September 2005.

Sathar said she was unarmed and denied Yunus’s version that she had pointed a gun at him.

Yunus is her husband’s cousin and before Safia’s murder the two families were on good terms, but since then a feud has erupted, the court heard.

Under cross-examination by state advocate Sandesh Sankar, Yunus agreed that he was very angry at that time and is “still angry today” with Sathar and her husband over their attempts to get their son released on bail and to “get him off the hook” for Safia’s murder.

He denied that his anger prompted him to shoot at her when he saw her on the N3.

Yunus said he had been seeing a psychologist for depression resulting from his sister’s murder, and was en route to Pietermaritzburg for an appointment when the shooting happened.

Although on medication, he was fully aware of what he was doing that day, he testified.

Yunus said he did not see the driver or Sathar’s child in the bakkie and was only aware of her pointing the gun at him.

He did not think about who the driver could be as everything happened in “split seconds”.

Yunus said he did not want to return to the scene of the shooting with police later because he was afraid. “I thought other people — Mr Sathar, maybe — might be there,” he said.

Yunus said he was frightened of Sathar and her husband as they are violent people.

He claimed that Sathar once chopped a door down with an axe and was seen “chasing her husband with an axe”.

Sankar questioned why, if his family feared the Sathars, it was Sathar who once sought an interdict against Yunus’s mother for spitting and swearing at her in 2006.

Yunus’s family had never sought an interdict.

“This seems to suggest that she feared your family more than you feared hers,” he said.

Yunus responded that the interdicts Sathar had applied for were “all false”.

The case is proceeding.

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