Cape Town – A Rondebosch resident on Monday described how she woke to the screams of two women and saw a person delivering blows to Carl Schoombie's body on the road outside her complex building in 2015.
"The experience was traumatic," said Melanie Steyn, struggling to hold tears back in the witness box in the Western Cape High Court.
"Those kids were terrified. I have never seen people so terrified. They thought whoever did this was going to come back then and there and kill them."
She was testifying during the trial of Schoombie's alleged killers, Brent Henry and Juane Jacobs.
The Stellenbosch University graduate and three friends were on their way home from a Claremont nightclub when he was dragged from his Uber and beaten. He was admitted to hospital in a coma but died a few days later.
Steyn said she woke to screams in the early hours of November 21, 2015. She had looked out the window and two women were rattling the complex's back gate.
"They were screaming to open up, please help, please call the ambulance, the cops, they are going to kill him," she recalled.
She saw a vehicle parked outside in front of the gate and another vehicle blocking it off.
A person lay on the ground behind them, with someone directly over him, attacking him.
"It was a swinging motion of someone delivering a blow, bending low over. I couldn't tell whether it was a punch with a hand or a whether it was a kicking motion."
She had opened the window and shouted, "hey!"
In response, she said, she saw the unidentified attacker pause, look up to see where the scream was coming from, and then deliver a final blow.
He and another person nearby then retreated back to the darker of the two vehicles.
"Someone shouted and said: 'That will teach you not to fuck with us'," she said in a faltering voice.
She then called for an ambulance and ran downstairs to the gate.
There she saw Schoombie on the ground bleeding.
"The other guy was kneeling down and trying to get him to wake up, but Carl wasn't responding."
She said the three friends were so terrified that they begged to get into the ambulance with Carl and for the police to follow behind them.
"We have lived with this for more than a year. I have never forgotten it."
Under cross-examination by the defence, she conceded that it was raining heavily that night and she could not recall if the two streetlights in the vicinity had been working.
She could also not remember whether, from her position, about 15m away, the vehicles' lights were on or not.
She was allowed to leave the stand.
Earlier on Monday, the court heard the testimony of lawyer George van Niekerk, who took statements from Schoombie's three friends who witnessed the attack.
It emerged that he had interviewed them, put their statements into his own words and then sent them back to them so they could check if they were accurate or not.
Judge Robert Henney said his methodology, which resulted in identical words being used in multiple statements, put witnesses' testimony at risk.
Van Niekerk said the statements were a "proper and comprehensive account of what had happened", but conceded he could have done it differently in hindsight.
The trial continues on Tuesday.