Murder accused denies 'flexing his muscles'

2014-12-08 20:51

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Durban - Blayne Shepard denied witnesses' testimony that he "flexed his muscles" during the group brawl in which Royal Marine, Brett Williams, died, the Durban Regional Court heard.

Shepard told the court on Monday that he did not touch Brett Williams, the Royal Marine he is accused of beating to death.

He also denied witnesses' testimony that he "flexed his muscles" during the group brawl in which Williams died, and that he had kicked, hit, and stomped on Williams.

Williams died on 23 March last year after a fight following a Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Melbourne Rebels.

Shepard was one of five friends accused of beating Williams to death.

The fifth accused, Grant Kramer, turned State witness, and the other three, Andries van der Merwe, Dustin van Wyk, and Shepard's older brother Kyle, were discharged last month.

Magistrate Trevor Levitt ruled "uneasily" that the evidence against the three did not reach the required standards of a trial.

He concluded that he had not heard the full story, and made specific mention of Kyle seemingly being "more involved than what meets the eye".

The friends had each faced a charge of murder, three of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, one of crimen injuria, and one of public violence.

Shepard was also acquitted of the assault, crimen injuria and public violence charges, but still faces the murder charge.

Under examination by his Advocate Christo van Schalkwyk, Shepard testified that he became caught up in a group brawl with security guards following news that a friend of his had fought with Williams.

Shepard and his friends were walking from Rovers Sports Club towards Rocca Bar shortly before 22:00 when they heard that Kramer, who had fallen behind following an argument with his girlfriend, was in a fight.

"We rushed back to him. When I asked him what happened, he just pointed at the deceased, who was lying motionless in a starfish position on his back," Shepard said.

He said Kramer had a cut on the right side of his lip and "some white fluid on his cheek".

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Krishan Shah, Shepard said the fluid was like foam.

"Someone then mentioned to Grant that his chain was missing... This caused him to get even more upset. I saw him looking frantically on the ground. I know the chain meant a lot to him."

Shepard said that at this point someone mentioned that the security guards should be searched, at which they "got upset and took offence".


A fight started between the security guards, Shepard and his friends, and bystanders. Shepard said the guards were "getting in our faces, in my personal space... it was just chaos".

He told the court that Williams was still on the ground at that point, but that he got up a short while later.

"He was about three metres from me. I saw him get up. He turned around and walked off. I was still getting pushed and shoved. I noticed the deceased had turned around and was advancing on the group. The reason I noticed him was because he was off-balance."

Shepard said he heard Williams scream profanities at the group, but was not sure who he was swearing at.

"He advanced, then all hell broke loose. Everyone was pushing and shouting... I got pushed up against the trailer... My immediate reaction was to push back."

Eventually, the fight started defusing and Shepard said he noticed Williams lying next to the trailer. He did not see him get up again.

Shepard testified that he did not see any of his friends and former co-accused assault Williams, and he denied flexing his muscles.

"I am not one to flex my muscles... The guards were shouting and swearing at me and I was shouting back. Maybe my actions were misinterpreted as flexing," he said.

Shepard told the court he had drunk a beer and three single brandies and Coke at the Coyote Supersuite box in the period shortly before the 19:00 game to shortly afterwards, and then another three or four double brandies and Cokes at the Rovers Club.

However, his fitness levels, weight, and the amount of food he ate meant he was able to handle more alcohol than "an average-sized person".

"I was under the influence [of alcohol] but not paralytic," he said.

Shepard's cross-examination continues on Tuesday.

Read more on:    brett williams  |  durban  |  crime

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