State pokes holes into Stompiesfontein farm murder accused's testimonies

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Garry Wiblin and his co-accused Dennis Grose who is also his fiancé’s father stand in the Delmas Regional Court dock. They are accused of killing a man on a farm before throwing his body over a bridge. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Garry Wiblin and his co-accused Dennis Grose who is also his fiancé’s father stand in the Delmas Regional Court dock. They are accused of killing a man on a farm before throwing his body over a bridge. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

The State has blown holes in the testimonies of two men accused of murdering Doctor Masilela on Stompiesfontein farm in Mpumalanga before throwing his body under a bridge. 

During their bail application in the Delmas Regional Court on Monday, Garry Wiblin, 36, and co-accused Dennis Grose, 67, who is his fiancé's father, both denied killing Masilela on June 17. 

The pair, who are part of the Rural Safety Corps that works with the local community policing forum, were called out to the farm, where people were allegedly stealing beans and mielies. 

Wiblin testified a man named Andre Strauss had called him and told him to bring his thermal imaging camera, which can detect heat signals at night. 

When he arrived, he found Masilela on the back of a bakkie. He claimed Masilela was later beaten by Dawie Lecordeur who manages the farm.

Wiblin alleged Lecordeur, Strauss and another farmer had entered the field and found another man.

During this time, Wiblin claimed, Masilela had run away. However, the State contended Wiblin had shot Masilela between the eyes before his body was dumped under a bridge. 

During cross-examination, advocate Themba Lusenga for the State asked Wiblin for a response to the assertion that he had shot and killed Masilela. 

Wiblin said the allegation was shocking as he had seen the "deceased" running away. He later recanted this, saying he was not sure whether it was Masilela or the second man they had caught who was found dead. 

The State also questioned him on what happened after he had left the farm.

Wiblin said he went home, had dinner with his fiancé and watched TV before being called out by Strauss due to an attempted break-in at around midnight. 

Lusenga then told Wiblin cellphone records would place him at the scene where Masilela's body was found. 

He then changed his story, saying he had attended to another incident before dealing with the reported housebreaking. He added he had not mentioned it previously as it was not relevant to the line of questioning. 

Wiblin also testified several times that he did not own a firearm and that Grose, who had one, always kept it in his safe. 

He later recanted this as well, saying he did not know if Grose had his firearm on him or not as it would have been concealed. 

Wiblin told the court affidavits by Lecordeur and Strauss were incorrect and they were lying, inferring they wanted to lay the blame on someone else.

Grose testified he was a sickly man who had a stroke, has had cancer and stage three kidney failure, as well as a failing liver and arthritis. 

He said his firearm had been in his safe as he was unable to use it because of his arthritis. 

During cross-examination, Lusenga noted several calls Grose had received from Strauss on June 17 and the towers it pinged off during those calls. 

The State contended this information proved the testimony of where Grose and Wiblin were at certain times during the evening in question was inaccurate. 

Grose said he does not own a watch and the times given to the court were just estimations. 

News24 previously reported Lecordeur had turned State witness and the charges against him had been dropped.

It was reported that Lecordeur had admitted to knocking down Masilela with a bakkie. 

Wiblin and Grose are facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, violation of a corpse, and defeating the ends of justice.

Their bail application has been postponed to August 7.

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