Soldier murder case back on roll

2012-10-10 00:00

THE murder case against a soldier who allegedly shot and killed a fellow soldier has been put back on the court roll after it was provisionally withdrawn in May this year.

Lance Corporal Elphus Nkosinghphile Simelane of 5 SA Infantry Battalion in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, allegedly shot Rifleman Marius Thorpe (27) in February last year following an argument at the gate of the base.

The state withdrew the case earlier this year after none of the state witnesses, or the investigating officer, arrived for the trial. Warrants were also issued for the arrest of the state witnesses after they had previously been warned to be in court on that particular date, but had failed to avail themselves.

Police said all the witnesses were tracked down. Four had been transferred to units in different parts of the country after the shooting incident.

On the night in question, two of the three shots from an R4 assault rifle hit Thorpe in the heart and lungs. An assault axe was found on the scene after the incident, but neither Thorpe’s fingerprints nor DNA could be found on it.

Thorpe was due to do guard duty on the night in question and Simelane was the guard commander at the main gate of the base. The two argued twice, and then the shooting took place.

After the incident, Simelane handed himself over at the police station in the town. He was suspended shortly afterwards, but the suspension has been lifted in the meantime.

The case will now continue on October 16 in the Ladysmith regional court so that a trial date can be set.

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