'She smiled at me' - dad recalls the moment he realised baby Zahnia had been shot

Zahnia Woodward was six month old when she was murdered, killed by a single bullet to the head. (Aljoscha Kohlstock)
Zahnia Woodward was six month old when she was murdered, killed by a single bullet to the head. (Aljoscha Kohlstock)

The father of murdered six-month-old Zahnia Woodward was less than two metres from the white Golf involved in the drive-by shooting that killed her in Ocean View two years ago.

He held her and hid behind a parked car as bullets flew - not realising that she had already been hit in the head.

The 26-year-old father, Bradley Robyn, was the State's first witness in the trial of five people arrested for the chaos that unfolded on December 30, 2016, which resulted in Zahnia's death and the injury of five others.

Christopher September, Larry Johnson, Taswill Kriel, Morné May and Miriam Johnson pleaded not guilty to the murder and 11 attempted murder charges, as well as the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and obstructing the course of justice.

The men all denied that they were in Ocean View at the time of the shooting. Miriam, Larry Johnson's mother, chose not to divulge anything in a plea explanation.

Robyn told the court his story on the first day of the trial in the Western Cape High Court.

He had been looking after Zahnia on the day of the shooting while her mother was at work, he told Judge Robert Henney.

He and a few friends had been sitting on the pavement outside his home in Carnation Street late that afternoon.

"I sat with [Zahnia] on my lap. I put her dummy in her mouth and she spat it out. When I bent down to catch it, a white Golf came fast around the corner and I heard a bang. I didn't know if it was a cracker or a gunshot," he said.

"It wasn't far from us. When I looked up, I saw a hand holding a gun from the passenger's side window, shooting."

ALSO READ: She will never call me 'mommy' – mother of murdered 6-month-old baby

Realising that the bullets were aimed in their direction, Robyn crouched behind his friend's parked car and shielded Zahnia by turning her away from where the shots were fired from.

"I looked over my shoulder to see where the car was and saw only two people in the front. It drove slowly as the shots were fired. I knew them. It was Larry (Johnson) and Trompie (September)."

Johnson and Robyn had both grown up in Carnation Street. September lived with Johnson for a short while and they had once had a drink together, he testified.

He didn't see if there were other people in the car, but said more people could have been involved.

When the white Golf passed him as he hid behind the vehicle, he got up and ran into his house, holding Zahnia, the court heard.

Inside, he asked his mother to hold his daughter because he was unsure if he had been shot. She pointed out to him that Zahnia's head was bleeding.

"When I looked at Zahnia, she just smiled with me. Her eyes were open. She smiled at me," he said tearfully.

He looked for his father's car keys and when he couldn't find them, he ran outside where he saw that the vehicle he had been hiding behind was open and the keys were inside.

"I drove. In the road in which False Bay hospital is located, she closed her eyes."

Zahnia was treated and transported to Red Cross Children's Hospital.

While the baby was being seen to, it was discovered that Robyn had also been hit.

The bullet had entered his thigh and exited through his back.

Zahnia’s mother, Cindy Woodward, walked out of the courtroom when her fiancé recounted what had happened.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

Johnson is the legal owner of the white Golf, which was discovered several days after the shooting. According to the State, Simaney Kindo and Miriam Johnson had hidden the vehicle from police to help the alleged gunmen evade prosecution.

Kindo entered into a plea and sentencing agreement and was given a four-year sentence for obstructing the course of justice.

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