Muay Thai pro demonstrates technique in Cape Town murder trial

2017-03-13 17:46
Carl Schoombie (Supplied)

Carl Schoombie (Supplied)

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Cape Town - A Muay Thai professional on Monday demonstrated in the trial of Carl Schoombie's alleged killers how elbows, knees and shins can be used to inflict serious harm on someone lying on the ground.

The State called Ian Zunckel in the Western Cape High Court to provide insight into the fighting style that might have been used in the fatal assault of Schoombie, a Stellenbosch University graduate.

Brent Henry and Juane Jacobs are on trial for allegedly beating him to death in Cape Town in November 2015. Jacobs was believed by some to have been a Muay Thai fighter.

Some witnesses that night had testified about how mostly elbows and knees were used in the assault.

Zunckel, a quantity surveyor who fought professionally in Thailand for four years, told the court Muay Thai was called the "art of the eight limbs". This was because two fists, knees, elbows and legs (shins) are used in strikes and kicks.

Killing blow

Elbows and knees were the core component in professional fights because they scored the most points and inflicted the most damage if the opponent was not knocked out.

"Elbows are very dangerous as the bones are very sharp."

He said his friend's skull was fractured and dented after being hit with an elbow. A trained, hardened shin was more brutal and a kick delivered with it could kill someone instantly.

Getting out of the witness box, he demonstrated how someone could bend their knees or torso to deliver kicks and blows from a variety of angles to someone lying on the floor. Someone fighting like this would be trying to "cause serious injury and harm".

Schoombie died after the two men apparently accused him of starting trouble at the Tiger Tiger nightclub.

He and three friends were on their way home from the Claremont nightclub in an Uber taxi. His killers blocked the taxi and attacked him in a cul-de-sac when he got out. He was admitted to hospital in a coma and died a few days later.

Judge Robert Henney asked Zunckel if Schoombie's severe injuries could have been caused by someone using Muay Thai.

"It would in my opinion," he answered.

Under cross-examination, both defence lawyers raised doubts about the ease of a standing person assaulting someone on the ground.

William Booth, for Jacobs, said Zunckel had no basis to testify after conceding he was not a street fighter.

"I have observed this [use of techniques] in mixed martial arts fighting. I have some basic training," he answered.

Booth said the impact of the fighting move was less if knees were bent in order to reach downward.

Zunckel disagreed, saying that bending over would increase the impact because of gravity.

When Booth seemed doubtful, he added: "I am pretty sure that science has proven gravity to exist."

The trial continues.

Read more on:    carl schoombie  |  cape town  |  crime

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