Elderly man on trial for murder also killed people in 1976 - police

2015-12-22 18:23


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Cape Town - Police claim that Hazendal businessman William Petersen was responsible for shooting and killing four people in two incidents, one of which dates as far back as 1976.

But police were unable to provide evidence of his alleged involvement during his bail application on Tuesday at the Athlone Magistrate's court, as the dockets had to be retrieved from their archives.

Petersen, 79, was more recently accused of shooting and killing Anees Dennis – his neighbour – on his property on December 11.

But according to investigating officer Constable Alvin Fortuin, Petersen was also involved in two separate shootings in 1976 and 1999.

However, Fortuin did not have either docket during court proceedings. Fortuin said the online capturing of cases was introduced years after both incidents.

Four people killed

In the 1976 shooting, Fortuin alleged that three people were killed at the Lincoln Tavern in Belgravia.

He said he had requested newspaper clippings of the incident to confirm the date, and once this was received, police would be able to retrieve the docket.

In the second incident, Sharief Ras was shot and killed on May 22 1999 in the Athlone CBD.

When asked for details of the incidents by Petersen’s attorney, William Booth, Fortuin said he had not yet seen the dockets and would only be able to elaborate once they had been viewed.

Petersen was not convicted in either case.

He faces charges of murder and for the possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.

Shot five times

Dennis, who had been cutting down a tree on the boundary of the two homes since earlier that week, was found two weeks ago in a room in Petersen's yard under a mattress, with an apron covering his face.

He had been shot five times.

Prior to the body being discovered, Petersen 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.

After Petersen's arrest on the day after Dennis' body was found, 25 firearms – comprising various makes and calibres of pistols, rifles and revolvers, as well as 700 rounds of ammunition – were discovered on the property.

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

The matter was postponed to Thursday December 24 to allow police to retrieve the dockets and also supply the court with a list of items confiscated from Petersen's home, along with copies of his gun licences.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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