Surprise twist in Cape murder trial

2015-05-14 12:28
Dr Louis Heyns (Netwerk24)

Dr Louis Heyns (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The trial of a man accused of killing a Stellenbosch doctor took a surprising turn on Thursday morning when his brother and alleged accomplice was not called as a State witness in the Western Cape High Court.

Instead , the State decided to close its case against 34-year-old Marthinus van der Walt.

Last year, his brother Sarel, 43, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder and theft of Dr Louis Heyns. He reached a plea bargain with the State and is currently serving a seven-year-sentence, with the understanding that he would testify as a State witness.

It was widely expected that he would take the stand to testify against his brother, but the State changed its mind on Thursday morning without giving a reason in court.

The only thing that prosecutor Samantha Raphaels revealed was that she was making Sarel available to the defence as a witness.

Marthinus van der Walt is accused of hijacking, kidnapping and murdering the paediatrician in May 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming he had hit Heyns with his fist and kicked him but did not intend to kill the doctor. After discovering that Heyns was dead, he tied his hands and feet and took his car.

Heyns’s body was found in a shallow grave in a bushy, sandy area between Beach Road and the sea in Strand.

A forensic pathologist testified on Wednesday that he died due to blunt trauma involving the head, neck, chest, abdomen and extremities, with contributing manual and ligature strangulation.

Van der Walt sat emotionless in the dock on Thursday morning, wearing a tracksuit top, cargo shorts and takkies. Just metres away sat the doctor’s wife and children, who have been in court every day for the trial.

Read more on:    louis heyns  |  cape town  |  crime

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