Cape businessman to hear if he will spend 80th birthday behind bars

Cape Town - Hazendal businessman William Petersen will find out on Christmas Eve if he will spend his 80th birthday in Pollsmoor Prison.

He appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for a bail application after being charged with the murder of his neighbour, Anees Dennis, as well as the possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition.

A total of 25 firearms comprising various makes and calibres of pistols, rifles and revolvers, as well as 700 rounds of ammunition were discovered on Petersen's property after his arrest.

Only eight of the firearms were licensed in his name, police said, and Petersen was also unable to account for the loss of two of his own guns.

According to investigating officer, Constable Alvin Fortuin, a plastic bag of gunpowder Petersen apparently used to make bullets, as well as shelves of ammunition, were also found in a room in Petersen's home.

Petersen - a past member of three gun clubs and a former chairperson of one of them - had firearms registered in Sea Point, despite living in Athlone.

Police were investigating why his weapons were not registered in his own district.

Not a flight risk

During his bail application, his attorney, William Booth, read an affidavit in which Petersen – who celebrates his 80th birthday on December 27 said he was highly regarded in his community and was not a flight risk. His businesses would suffer while he was behind bars, he added.

According to an affidavit from his daughter, Tarryn Fredericks, her father was cautious and safety conscious. He also ensured he complied with gun laws, she said.

Business associates also supplied affidavits, saying he was an "upstanding citizen" with a good reputation.

The matter was postponed to Thursday.

Dennis’s body was found in a room on Williams’s property on December 11.

Shot five times

Dennis, who had been cutting down a tree on the boundary of the two homes since earlier that week, was found under a mattress with an apron covering his face.

He had been shot five times.

Prior to the body being discovered, Williams had reported an attempted burglary at his home. He told police he had shot the intruder, who had fled the scene.

A short while later, photos and SMSes were sent to the police, which said a body had been seen on Petersen's property.

The firearms and ammunition were confiscated after his arrest.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 509 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 6245 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
11% - 817 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.