I'm no walking time bomb, cop says

2011-02-08 23:01

Pietermaritzburg - A member of the Pietermaritzburg police's dog unit, Morné Croeser, 34, charged with murdering his wife in a premeditated, staged robbery last August, could be back on the beat on Wednesday after being granted bail of R5 000 on Tuesday.

At his bail hearing, Croeser denied he is a “walking time bomb” because of ongoing anger management issues.

He also denied that, if allowed to go free and resume his duties armed with a firearm, he would pose a danger to others, including his daughters, aged three and six, because he knows he could face life imprisonment if convicted.

“I will never, ever hurt my children,” he said. “My plan is to live a full life and to see my children.”

A seemingly composed Croeser admitted he has a temper, that he assaulted his wife Erika in January 2010 and that he has had “more than one” affair during their marriage.

He also admitted he was involved with his current girlfriend (identified only by her surname, Sinclair) at the time of his wife’s death, but he said he intends to plead not guilty to Erika’s murder.

Feared for her life

Croeser said he knew five days after the murder that police suspected him, and his friends in the police advised him long ago to get a lawyer.

“I told them … to let them get on with their investigation and I told them to just tell what they knew,” he told magistrate Rod Stewart.

Croeser claims he was stabbed in the stomach during the alleged murder, that he was hospitalised and underwent an operation for the injury.

He did not comment on the State’s allegation that he stabbed himself in a bid to evade justice.

He agreed during questioning that he “still has a lot of anger” arising from what has happened and is receiving counselling.

He admitted that Erika’s parents met him in April or May last year to discuss his temper and said they did not want him at their home.

He said he was not aware that Erika had sought a protection order against him because she was afraid for her life, as the State alleges she did.

Self-inflicted wounds

Investigating officer Swami Pillay of the organised crime unit said in an affidavit opposing bail that the State has a strong case against Croeser based on circumstantial evidence.

This includes evidence by medical and other experts proving that the wound to Croeser’s abdomen was “probably self-inflicted” and that wounds to his hands were consistent with him holding the knife while stabbing his wife.

Pillay said there is evidence that Croeser staged two break-ins at the couple’s home in the week prior to the murder in an attempt to mislead people in the Msinsi reserve.

Pillay expressed concern that, if given bail, Croeser could intimidate or influence witnesses, who include his friends in the police, his girlfriend, his father and his in-laws.

The case has been postponed to February 15.

Croeser’s advocate Dawid Joubert disputed the state’s contention that the murder was premeditated. Even if Croeser did kill Erika, it was more likely to have been in the course of a “savage rage attack” as she had 14 stab wounds.

Serious charges

It was unclear on Tuesday whether Croeser will be able to return to police duties and whether he will be allowed to carry a firearm.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said each case is considered on its merits. It would take time to ascertain the facts relating to Croeser.

Police officers facing serious charges such as murder may be suspended with or without pay, but that decision can only be taken by the provincial police commissioner after procedures laid down by the Labour Relations Act have been followed, Mdunge said.

  • GT - 2011-02-08 23:08

    R5000 bail for lying, cheating wife killer. Disgraceful

      AJ - 2011-02-09 06:52

      The court case has yet to get underway, so he is a suspect only. The bail is not unusual. I dont think he should be able to retain his firearm and should be performing other duties until his court hearing commences.

      onemantribe - 2011-02-09 07:21

      @GT - that's right GT - you appoint yourself judge, jury and executioner. I thought I was drunk when I read your comment. Then I realised, I had just had one G&T too many.

      GT - 2011-02-09 08:39

      Did you actually read the story? A man with long history of abuse and violence murders his wife and he gets R5000 bail. If the gardener had hit her with a hammer you would have nailed him to a burning cross. I repeat - disgraceful!

  • John Wilderness - 2011-02-09 00:21

    Thats SA justice for you. More reward for doing evil rather than punishment. What is a R5000 bail going to do in the face of a tempremental idiot with a gun ?

      007vanzyl - 2011-02-09 07:45

      John clearly you dont know how much a policeman's salary is. Believe me that R 5000 is alot of money. Bail money is to make sure you will be at your next court date and not for any other reason. Please get with the justice program in sa

      Nebkad - 2011-02-09 11:30

      @007vanzyl..."John clearly you dont know how much a policeman's salary is. Believe me that R 5000 is alot of money." Are you saying the jobless should be released without paying bail, from custody while awaiting a possible trial, on they basis they do not have an income? "Bail money is to make sure you will be at your next court date and not for any other reason." Huh????

  • Susannomore - 2011-02-09 06:34

    Is this new girlriend mad! This is exactly the same as the Dewani case. He will also be pleading some sort of trauma depression soon. Get those kids into a safe place, please...

      hf44083 - 2011-02-09 07:53

      I also had the exact same thoughts, is this woman stupid, dating a man who waas married, had a foul temper, abused his wife and is suspected of killing her. Move on girl and find a decent man, unless you are the same kind of person, which is perhaps the case - having an affair with married man with small children does not say much for this stupid woman.

      wizeguys.carcrew - 2012-12-06 14:58

      Listen and Listen very carefully. Get your facts in order! If u as a public is so stupid then state it so. Don't Blame Morne Croeser for something he hasn't done. He's ex wife, gave him a hell of a life! She was that kind that life should be 110% and nothing less. She abused morne physically and mentally.

  • Susannomore - 2011-02-09 06:36

    Is this new girlriend mad! This is exactly the same as the Dewani case. He will also be pleading some sort of trauma depression soon. Get those kids into a safe place, please...

  • Singo - 2011-02-09 07:35

    I'm speechless, to the core.This man is not to be trusted.If the police are letting him roam free with a gun in his possession,surely he wont hesistate to kill someone.My heart goes to the young children.may God protect them whereever they are.

  • - 2011-02-09 07:54

    The 1st Sign of a PROBLEM in someone with an aggression problem is denial..

  • kingoftomorr - 2011-02-09 08:12

    Pigs are a very dangeous thing!!!

  • TDK1 - 2011-02-09 08:12

    True each case is judged on its own merits. How possibly can the state have a srong case against the accused based on circumstantial evidence?

      GT - 2011-02-09 08:44

      The 14 holes in his wife, the violent rage, the protection order, the staged break-ins, the wounds on himself, the fact that he was in the house at the time of the murder even with a protection order. This is when it stops being circumstantial

  • amy0aylif - 2011-02-09 08:16

    14 stab wounds? that sounds like rage to me.

      Tieneke - 2011-02-09 09:20

      Total over kill, not associated to be the method of random killing by the hand of a stranger. Sounds like Pappie had something to do with it. Again, I do not have all the details. Just my opinion.

  • Maddi - 2011-02-09 08:49

    And I am supposed to feel safe knowing that a person like this is in the employ of the very institution in charge of my safety? R5000 bail for a possible murder charge? Even on the remote chance that he is not guilty, this individual is a danger to society. If his wife obtained a protection order against him, his weapon should have been removed as with a normal citizen. I smell a big coverup coming. Why don't the SAPS do psych checks on their staff before issuing them with a licence to kill?

  • Pho3nix - 2011-02-09 09:47

    Knowing the family personally, all i can say is, God help those little girls.... Mother murdered by their father... how do you tell a 3 & 6 year old that? "mommy is gone forever, and daddy will be gone too..." The fact that he has been given bail is not the issue, (as horrible as it may be - it is the legal system that allows this) the issue that I have is: WTF! WHY THE HELL ARE THEY GIVING HIM HIS JOB BACK STRAIGHT AWAY AND WITH A FIREARM!!! If they decide to re-instate him in his job (as a police officer who is supposed to protect the public) SURELY they should make him sit behind a desk and not near any weapons! He is KNOWN as a violent man, who's to say he wont target Her family and friends??? - My Heart Bleeds for those two innocent little girls....

      Glen - 2011-02-09 13:59

      known morne and erika, bless her soul, for 10 years , he put her through hell , a divorce , remarried , messed around again and I can go on. She got a restraining order once she found out about the new affair and my opinion is he felt threatened that he was losing his children and committed the act of murder, never really like the little twerp much hope he gets whats comming to him.

      wizeguys.carcrew - 2012-12-06 14:53

      Listen glen, You don't know my nephew better than myself. She gave morne a hell of a life! Problems over Problems. My nephew didn't do this serious crime. Get YOUR facts rite or else your mouth might end up in court.

  • hf44083 - 2011-02-09 10:08

    All those commenting so angrily about him going back to police duty with a firearm should read the article clearly before ranting about the ridiculous case of this happening - it states UNCLEAR about him returning to duty with firearm and officers facing such charges may be suspended. Give the police a chance to go through the process of suspending him first before shouting and getting upset over something which may not happen, this type of thing takes time to go through certain procedures. What does amaze me in this article is his own advocate stating "EVEN if he did kill Erika" it was a savage rage attack, uncontrolled rage is not a person to be on the streets, let the justice process proceed and lets see the outcome before becoming "enraged" on "ifs and maybes".

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