Meghan Cremer murder accused ran from roadblock the night she was killed, court hears

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Jeremy Sias.
Jeremy Sias.
Gallo Images/Brenton Geach
  • Meghan Cremer's Toyota Auris was pulled over at a roadblock in Wynberg the night she went missing.
  • Murder accused Jeremy Sias was driving the car and ran off before his blood alcohol level was tested.
  • He was apprehended and later released as he was under the legal limit.

Jeremy Sias kicked off his shoes and ran from a roadblock when he was pulled over while driving Meghan Cremer's car on the night of her murder.

And while he was apprehended and tested for suspicion of driving under the influence, he was later released and allowed to drive off in her Toyota Auris, waving at the officer who had tested him after he was handed back the keys.

This, despite him not having a driver's licence.

Traffic officer Donne Fernandez testified in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday that she had pulled Sias over on 3 August 2019 during a roadblock on Wynberg Main Road at 22:51.

READ | Meghan Cremer's face was so badly disfigured that family identified her by jewellery, mom tells court

After he had blown into the breathalyser, it indicated he had consumed alcohol and she asked him to accompany her to the traffic inspector for a reading to be done.

"While walking across the road, I held on to the driver's left forearm. He then pulled out of my hold, kicked off his shoes and ran," she testified." 

Gesturing to Sias in the dock, Fernandez said:

I remember the driver. It's the gentleman sitting at the back there with the mask on his face. I remember him quite clearly," Fernandez said, indicating to Sias in the dock.

Police and traffic officers pursued him - eight minutes later, they returned with him in the back of a police van.

"When they brought him back, he said his side is sore. I asked the officers what happened. They said that while they were chasing him, he fell."

Fernandez said Sias had identified himself as Jerome Adams from Sweet Valley Farm in Philippi.

"I had asked him why he ran. His answer was, 'Ek is bang vir die boere' [I am afraid of the police]," Fernandez said.

Inspector Jade van Niekerk did Sias' blood alcohol reading. At 0.17mg/l, he was below the legal limit of 0.24mg/l.

READ | Meghan Cremer murder trial begins

"I handed his keys over to my inspector as I didn't want him to drive further," Fernandez said. "He wasn’t over the legal limit, but he had consumed alcohol."

She confirmed that he did not have a drivers' licence. There were four other people in the vehicle, she remembered - a woman and three men.

He had told her he had borrowed the vehicle "from a friend" and that they were on their way to a nightclub in Church Street, called Wickets.

Meghan Cremer
Meghan Cremer.
File/News24

Fernandez had returned to the roadblock, where she apprehended a drunk driver. As she left the scene with the suspect, she saw Sias.

"The accused waved at me while driving off. He had been given his keys as he was not over the legal limit."

Drive

Judge Elizabeth Baartman questioned this, asking why someone was allowed to drive off without a licence.

Fernandez said the operation was focused on motorists driving under the influence.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 23 : Jeremy Sias, th
Jeremy Sias, the man accused of killing Meghan Cremer, pictured in court.
Gallo Images Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

During cross-examination, Sias' advocate, Bashier Sibda, said his client denied that he had fallen and injured himself, claiming that the accused had at some point been assaulted by police.

Fernandez said she had no knowledge of this.

According to Sias, he had walked to Wickets to try and find a friend to drive the car. He didn't find one, but was handed the key by Van Niekerk as he had not been over the legal limit.

Van Niekerk testified that he could not recall if he had returned the key or if it had been removed from the motorbike seat where he had placed all the confiscated keys.

Before Sias had driven off, Cremer's colleague Brian Chikaka, who worked as a driver at Woodstock Bakery, had spotted her vehicle at the roadblock in the vicinity of his apartment block.

"I thought she was in trouble so I moved closer to the car," he testified.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 23 : Gill Cremer mot
Gill Cremer, mother of Meghan, pictured outside the Cape Town High Court.
Gallo Images Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

When he peered inside, he realised he didn't recognise the occupants. When Chikaka tried to speak to them, they swore at him and chased him away.

"She never told me she borrowed people her car. I went to a police officer and said I recognised this car... I know the CX number plate and I had bought the mag wheels on it," he said.

He had tried to phone her, but his calls weren't going through. He also spotted a blue dog blanket, belonging to her puppy, behind the back seat, confirming to him that this was her vehicle.

The policeman assured him that the car wasn't going anywhere. Chikaka went to the Wynberg police station to report his suspicion that "something happened to my boss".

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"The police said there was nothing they could do at that point because the car wasn't reported stolen yet."

When he returned to the roadblock, the vehicle was gone.Cremer was not at work at 06:30 the following morning. He returned to the police station and reported her missing.

Sias on Monday pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder.

Murdered

According to the State, Cremer was murdered in her cottage at Vaderlandsche Rietvlei Farm in Philippi, where Sias was employed as a general worker.

Sias faces further charges of aggravated robbery, theft, and obstruction of justice, in that he allegedly dumped Cremer's stolen iPad in a toilet and destroyed her cellphones to avoid being traced.

Cremer, 29, was strangled with a blue ribbon. She went missing on 3 August 2019 and was believed to have been assaulted and killed that day. Her body was discovered on 8 August - Sias pointed out her body at the scene in bushes in Olieboom Road, Philippi.

The blue ribbon used to strangle her was still around her neck, hands, and feet.

Initially charged alongside Sias, Charles Daniels and Shiraaj Jaftha, were accused of hiding Cremer's car while trying to find a potential buyer. Their attempt to sell it, however, fell through as they could not produce the registration documents.

The pair had been arrested two days after Cremer's disappearance while in possession of her Toyota Auris. Meghan's body was found in the early hours of 8 August.

Sias on Monday, through Sibda, admitted to having an "over fondness" for cars. He claimed he  took Cremer's vehicle for a joyride after discovering it with the keys in the ignition, not knowing the vehicle belonged to her or that she had been murdered.

The trial continues.


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