Two accused in Stompiesfontein farm murder granted bail

Garry Wiblin and his co-accused Dennis Grose in the Delmas Regional Court dock. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Garry Wiblin and his co-accused Dennis Grose in the Delmas Regional Court dock. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

The two men accused of murdering Doctor Masilela on Stompiesfontein farm, before dumping his body on the N17 in Mpumalanga, have been granted bail by the Delmas Regional Court.

Garry Wiblin, 36, and co-accused Dennis Grose, 67 - who is the father of Wiblin's fiancé - were granted bail of R10 000 each on Monday with attached conditions, including that they not make contact with witnesses and that they contact the investigating officer if they leave the province. The bail application of Wiblin and Grose ran for around three weeks and revealed both the State’s version of events and the accused’s rebuttal.

Deadly shortcut

According to the State, Masilela was returning from a traditional ceremony with two friends on the evening of June 17, when they decided to take a shortcut through Stompiesfontein farm to get home.

"The shortcut through Stompiesfontein farm would have taken them to Wolvefontein farm, where the deceased lived," investigating officer Colonel Difaga Molope previously told the court.

While walking through the farm, the men saw a vehicle approaching and started to run away.

READ: Stompiesfontein farm murder – Blood stains found on accused's bakkie

One of the men managed to flee, while Masilela and the second man tried to hide in the field. At this point, Stompiesfontein farm manager Dawie Lecordeur hit Masilela with his Toyota Hilux Bakkie, injuring him.

Lecordeur then put the injured Masilela onto the back of his bakkie and called for backup to find the second person he had spotted between the crops.

Enter Wiblin and Grose

Backup arrived in the form of Wiblin, Grose and a man named Andre Strauss, who are all part of the Rural Safety Corps. Another farmer named Driaan Barnard also arrived on the scene.

According to the State, Wiblin helped Masilela get off Lecordeur’s bakkie and started punching him, and Grose then joined in. When Masilela fell on the ground, the pair proceeded to kick him.

At this point, Lecordeur, Strauss and Barnard found Masilela’s friend, still hiding among the bean crops.

While Wiblin and Grose were alone with Masilela, the State contends that Wiblin shot the injured man in the head.

READ MORE: 'He hates black people' - investigating officer cites racism as motive for Stompiesfontein farm murder

Despite having no eyewitness to the next events, the State alleges that Wiblin and Grose must have loaded Masilela's body onto Wiblin's bakkie before driving off.

Masilela's body was then thrown over a bridge onto the N17, about 40km away from the farm, Molope testified.

Around 22:30, a Volkswagen Polo with four occupants hit the body of Masilela and overturned. Everyone in the vehicle survived and they were taken to a hospital in Heidelberg.

During the bail application, the court heard that the first post-mortem had concluded that Masilela had died as a result of the Polo driving over him.

It was only after information emerged about the events on the farm, that a second post-mortem was conducted and revealed that Masilela had died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.

Accused’s version

Both Wiblin and Grose deny killing Masilela. They contend that, after Wiblin helped Masilela off the bakkie, he ran away. Soon after that, the pair left the scene.

During the bail application on Wednesday, defence attorney Mike van As pointed out inconsistencies in the witness statements of Lecordeur.

In Lecordeur's warning statement, he said he had heard a gunshot and that, when he turned around, he had seen Wiblin with a firearm in his hand. But in his Section 204 witness statement, he contends that he saw Wiblin shoot Masilela between the eyes.

ALSO READ: State pokes holes into Stompiesfontein farm murder accused's testimonies

"Lecordeur made these statements, implicating the two accused, to exonerate himself, to shift the blame," Van As argued.

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

Furthermore, both Wiblin and Grose testified that it was Lecordeur who assaulted Masilela.

The matter has been postponed to October 29 for further investigation.

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