Woman tells of dominee's death

2005-08-03 22:37

Cape Town - A Durbanville woman at the mercy of intruders shouted desperately to her husband not to come into the house, the Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

A tearful Dolores Theron, 68, was testifying before Judge Siraj Desai at the trial of three men alleged to have shot dead Theron's neighbour, NGK dominee Pietie Victor, as he rushed to her assistance.

Andre Esau, Rashied Naidoo and Riedewaan Cornelius have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking with intent to commit aggravated robbery and two charges relating to the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Theron said her husband came home from work during the September 2003 robbery, while she was lying face down on the floor as ordered by the intruders.

She told the court: "As I lay on the floor I heard my husband coming up the driveway in his diesel bakkie.

"I shouted 'Pieter (her husband), don't come in, don't come in!' but he couldn't hear me."

'Huge problems' inside house

She said she tried to get up to shout to her husband from a window, but she was too weak from shock.

She heard Victor, who by then must have been aware of the robbery taking place, calling to her husband and him shouting back: "What's going on?"

Victor urged Theron's husband to go into the house immediately and said there were "huge problems" inside.

She said her husband called to her from outside, "but I could not answer him".

She said she then heard gunfire outside. When she finally managed to get up she found Victor lying dead under a tree.

Soon afterwards, she heard the screeching of tyres as a car with tinted windows sped away.

Theron said she had been in the kitchen of her home preparing a cool drink for her gardener about 13:30 when she heard the latch of the unlocked kitchen door click and the three men entered.

Cornelius at that stage lifted a finger to his lips to signal to her to be silent.

Theron said that their faces "shone like I will never forget". She said she thought they had Vaseline smeared on their faces, but it could have been sweat and the shine was very noticeable.

Dogs came storming into kitchen

She told the court: "It felt like I couldn't breathe and I turned to the window and screamed as loud as I could."

The next moment, her two dogs came storming into the kitchen.

Naidoo stood against her and pointed a gun at her while Esau and Cornelius wrestled with the dogs.

Cornelius initially told Naidoo to shoot the animals, but then they managed to get the dogs outside and Naidoo ordered her to follow him down the passage.

Theron said she thought of pressing a panic button but was too afraid to do so. She told the men she did not have the key to the safe.