‘I felt heat of bullet’

2016-02-05 11:11
Vidhur Jadoo … killed on duty.

Vidhur Jadoo … killed on duty. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - A former policeman gave a chilling description in court yesterday of a gun battle that left him critically injured and killed his colleague in 2012.

Former Pietermaritzburg dog unit Warrant Officer Livingstone Mpangase told Judge Yvonne Mbatha and two assessors the incident had caused him to resign after 25 years’ service.

“This incident changed my life. I am always in pain and sometimes I feel dizzy … I could no longer go on working as a police officer,” he said.

Mpangase was testifying in the trial of 10 men who have pleaded not guilty to a total of 31 charges including the bombing of ATMs at Nottingham Road, Howick, Merrivale, Greytown and Utrecht between September 2012 and January 13, 2013.

They are facing three counts of murder and multiple counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, causing explosions, malicious injury to property, attempted murder, theft, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Mpangase said on the day of the shooting he and his partner, Constable Vidhur Jadoo, responded to a call to back up other policemen chasing after suspects in the Howick area.

“We were ready … We had heard that the SAPS members had already been shot at by the suspects,” he said.

Mpangase said he only noticed the robbers’ bakkie when he and Jadoo were already close to it, as it was parked off the road.

“From that distance I was able to see a suspect lying in the bin. The vehicle had no number plate or tailgate, and no canopy. Another suspect stood outside next to the vehicle.

“I could see the people were armed with rifles … due to the fact that I was already so close, I could not reverse so I resorted to driving as fast as I could to pass them,” he said.

As he passed, the robbers “opened fire simultaneously”.

“I had my 9 mm and I was firing back as I was driving. After a short distance one bullet struck me at the back of my head. I could feel the heat … I stalled the motor vehicle and switched it off,” he said.

Mpangase said he looked at Jadoo and saw that he “kept opening and closing his mouth”, but was making no sound.

“I realised that he had also been struck,” he said.

Mpangase started “firing randomly” towards the back of the vehicle until his pistol ran out of ammunition.

He then took Jadoo’s R5 rifle and fired a single shot, after which the gun jammed.

Mpangase cocked the rifle again and fired a second time, but the gun then “jammed permanently”.

He lost consciousness and came to when “it was very quiet”.

He then sent a brief message on the two-way radio.

“The only thing I said was that we had been shot. I didn’t say anything after that, but they looked for us until they found us,” he said, referring to the policemen who came to their aid.

He and Jadoo were taken to hospital, but Jadoo died.

It was discovered that Mpangase was shot more than once. One bullet entered the back of his head at the base of his skull and “got stuck” before it reached his spinal cord, he said.

Another bullet grazed the top of his head, and he was also injured on his thigh, wrist and just above his right eye.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cop  |  crime  |  court  |  saps

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