Farm Massacre Trial Resumes

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By Anna Shilongo

WINDHOEK

The trial of four suspects who stand accused for killing eight people at Kareeboomvloer Farm in the Kalkrand area on March 4, 2005, resumed in the High Court yesterday with more people testifying.

The suspects are Justus Christiaan ‘Shorty’ Erasmus (30), Gavin Beukes (26) and his younger brother Sylvester (23), and Stoney Raymond Neidel (30).

Warrant Officer Jeffrey Scott who was a police commanding officer of the Serious Crime Unit at the time of the massacre was the first to testify.

Scott told the High Court how he arrested the accused on the night of the massacre.

“I asked the Beukes brothers whether they knew any thing about the robbery and murder of the Erasmus family and they both denied, adding that they were somewhere in the north at Grootfontein and they had just arrived,” he said.

“I also asked them if I could inspect their house but none of them responded to my request,” the court was told.

He said he instructed his officers to inspect the Beukes home and during the inspection, the officers discovered two maroon bags packed with photos of white people, a driver’s licence belonging to Mrs Erasmus, cellphones, cameras and matches.

“I asked how these documents ended up in their home and to whom they belonged, but they wouldn’t answer. This is what led to the arrest of the two,” he said.

“I arrested them on counts of multiple murder and robbery. I also informed them of their legal rights before I detained them at the Rehoboth Police Station,” he said.

During the arrest, Sylvester sustained injuries but he also had injuries to his face. He claimed he sustained the injuries to his face from a fall.

“I personally told my officer to take a picture of him because I doubted that he truly fell as he claimed, from what I believed, he might have been involved in a fight at the farm,” he testified.

The officer also told the court how they discovered stolen items from Niedel’s home in Rehoboth. Niedel is the fourth accused in the case.

Cross-examining the officer was the Beukes brothers’ defence counsel, who told the court that his clients complained about Warrant Officer Scott’s conduct at the time of the arrest. The two claimed that Scott subjected them to physical violence, adding that he was very forceful when he arrested them.

“My clients complained that you arrested them in a violent manner by pulling and pushing them around,” he said. Scott denied the allegations.

Scott is accused of having injured Sylvester, while Gavin claimed he was punched in the face.

Warrant Officer Johannes Jacobs Le Roux was the second to testify followed by Sergeant Elias Nangolo.

It is alleged that on the night of the killings, the Beukes brothers offloaded some of the stolen items at Erasmus’ residence. Thereafter, the trio drove a Hyundai pick-up and a trailer to Areb Farm where they offloaded and concealed the stolen goods, including the three firearms listed as exhibits in court.

They abandoned the pick-up and the trailer in Windhoek district.

The four are accused of stealing 244 items which included a Hyundai pick-up, trailer, veterinary medicine, photographs of the deceased, 22 goats, two sheep, tools, firearms, furniture and household appliances, cellphones and bedding.

The four face 15 charges of which eight are counts of murder and a ccount of house-breaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances, alternatively malicious damage to property, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, possession of firearms without a licence, possession of ammunition without a licence and theft.

In addition to the Erasmus couple, Justus Christiaan and his wife Ezelb???_?_’???_?’???_?

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