Suspect rifled through dying farmer’s pocket

2014-03-27 00:00

A MAN on trial for the murder of Eston farmer Mick Hampson (69) on September 27 last year admitted yesterday that he’d rifled through the dying farmer’s shirt pocket after he’d been shot by a co-perpetrator.

Jabulani Ngobese said he removed the farmer’s spectacle case from his pocket, but threw it back into the bakkie when he realised they weren’t valuable.

Ngobese made the admission while being cross-examined by state advocate Candy Kander over his involvement in the incident.

Ngobese has pleaded not guilty before Pietermaritzburg High Court Acting Judge Louis Barnard to the murder of Hampson, attempted murder of his son Murray, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

In his evidence, Ngobese denied being in any way responsible for the killing of the farmer, who was shot dead by his co-perpetrator, Siboniso Mtolo, while Hampson was trying to drive away in his bakkie.

Mtolo — who pleaded guilty in a separate trial to the murder — was sentenced to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment last week by Judge Isaac Madondo. Ngobese has laid the blame for the entire incident and murder on Mtolo.

Ngobese testified yesterday that he’d told Mtolo it “wasn’t necessary” to shoot the farmer.

However, Mtolo ran after the “old man” (Hampson) and shot him with his shotgun to stop him driving away, because Mtolo had said he “might bring other farmers” to the scene.

“So he shot him to help the two of you to make good your escape?” Kander asked him.

She asked Ngobese if he did anything to prevent Mtolo from shooting Hampson.

Ngobese replied that he didn’t because Mtolo was armed with the shotgun at the time.

“I don’t know what would have happened if I had tried to stop him,” he said.

Ngobese denied Murray’s allegation that he (Ngobese) earlier tried to stab him during a struggle for possession of the shotgun.

Instead, Ngobese alleges that he saved Murray’s life by pushing him out of the way when Mtolo attempted to stab him.

According to Ngobese, Murray fell down and let go of the shotgun.

He (Ngobese) thereafter threw it to the ground where it was retrieved by Mtolo.

He said Murray meanwhile grabbed Mtolo’s knife, which had also fallen to the floor, and “brandished” it in his (Ngobese’s) direction.

He said Mtolo asked if he should shoot Murray and he (Ngobese) replied, “No, let him go”.

He said Murray dropped the knife and fled into the sugar cane field. Thereafter Mtolo chased after Hampson’s bakkie and shot him.

After the shooting, Mtolo had called him (Ngobese) to go to the bakkie and retrieve his jacket and cellphone from the vehicle.

Ngobese admitted that he at that stage searched Hampson’s shirt pocket and removed the spectacles case. He said the farmer was “still breathing” at that stage.

He said Mtolo was trying to look for money underneath the farmer, but he’d told him to “leave him alone”. “I honestly didn’t like the manner he conducted himself by shooting the old man,” Ngobese said.

He said they’d gone to the farm in order to steal a vehicle.

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