Ford boss wanted post-mortem, toxicology reports from Kuga victim's family

2017-05-25 14:26
Renisha Jimmy, sister of Reshall Jimmy who burnt to death in a Ford Kuga. (Deaan Vivier/Netwerk24)

Renisha Jimmy, sister of Reshall Jimmy who burnt to death in a Ford Kuga. (Deaan Vivier/Netwerk24)

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Pretoria – After the former CEO of Ford SA had offered to give the elderly mother of Reshall Jimmy a new Ford in a meeting with the family last week, he also requested a long list of information from them in order to reach a settlement.

Jimmy, 33, burnt to death in his Ford Kuga in December 2015.

Jimmy’s sister, Renisha, on Wednesday showed the list of 14 items to media at a National Press Club conference in Pretoria, Netwerk24 reported.

The Jimmy family’s lawyer, Rob Montano, and forensic pathologist Dr David Klatsow, who is investigating the case on behalf of the family, were also present at the press conference.

Former CEO of Ford SA Jeff Nemeth sent an email to Renisha requesting the information on Friday evening, after he had visited her and her mother, Polly.

In the email, Nemeth said the information would help them (Ford SA) to "understand everything you (Jimmy’s family) understand".

The information Nemeth demanded included a complete police report, along with pictures and witness statements and videos; a toxicology report; a complete report on the post-mortem; pictures and videos of Jimmy’s activities 48 hours before the incident (including footage of hotel or security cameras); receipts; credit card statements, cellphone records and usage from 48 hours before the incident; all sales, maintenance and service records of the vehicle and photos of all the inspections of the vehicle.

Family rejected Ford's 'callous' offer

He also asked Renisha for her older brother’s medical records for two years prior to the incident and requested permission for Ford to speak to Jimmy’s family members, friends and business partners about his background and activities before the incident.

During the visit, it is understood that Nemeth had told Jimmy’s family that Ford SA had new evidence proving that the cause of death was a gunshot to the head.

The family rejected Ford SA’s offer of a new Ford valued at R1m.

Renisha said the offer was "so callous".

"How can you compensate for someone’s life with a car?"

She said Ford SA had yet to apologise to the family.

According to Renisha, Nemeth had misled her when he asked for the meeting.

WATCH: 'Ford must take responsibility'

Over the past two months, he had apparently regularly phoned or sent messages on WhatsApp to reassure her that the purpose of his visit would be to "help the family get closure" and that he had received a mandate from Ford’s headquarters in Michigan in the US to reach a settlement with the family.

"I thought he would at least apologise to my mother during his visit, but he didn’t. He basically manipulated me into feeling sorry for him about how what happened to my brother had affected him".

Renisha said her mother is now using medication because she had a breakdown after Nemeth’s visit.

'Extraordinarily unscrupulous'

Montano said according to the post-mortem, Jimmy’s body was "severely charred".

"There were no external injuries and no discernible evidence of gunshot wounds. There was also a large amount of soot in his trachea, which means he was still alive during the fire."

According to him there was, however, a hole behind Jimmy’s head.

"The pathologist consequently investigated it. As a result of the intense heat of the fire, Reshall’s skull had cracked. This is a common occurrence among victims of fires."

Klatsow said in his 34 years of experience, the Jimmy case is "extraordinarily unscrupulous".

"Nemeth is dreaming up one version after the other to absolve Ford of any blame."

The family is now insisting on a judicial inquiry into the cause of death.

Asked for comment, Ford SA spokesperson Minesh Bhagaloo said, "We realise how devastating the loss of Reshall Jimmy must be for his family.

"Because of the sensitive nature and unique circumstances surrounding Jimmy’s death and the probability of legal action, we have nothing further to say on this matter."

Netwerk24 tried contacting Nemeth on his cellphone, but according to a service provider message the number no longer exists.

Read more on:    ford  |  reshall jimmy  |  jeff nemeth  |  pretoria  |  ford kuga

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