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Cape Town - Alleged Americans gang boss Bradley “Kleinkop” Parkins, once the most dangerous man on the Cape Flats, has avoided long-term imprisonment despite being charged with multiple counts of murder, attempted murder and escaping over the past four years.
His lawyer, Richard Roode, said single witnesses and poor police work were among factors favouring his client.
Despite having at least six cases running in courts across the Peninsula since 2008, Parkins has only two previous convictions, the first for escaping, to which he pleaded guilty, the other for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Parkins, 32, escaped from the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court’s holding cells on February 16, 2009 allegedly with the help of police officer Raymond Jantjies.
Parkins was due to appear in that court on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm. After being on the run for two days, police captured him.
That June Parkins admitted having escaped from custody and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. For the illegal possession of a firearm Parkins was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Three months later, a Cape Town court discharged Jantjies of charges of corruption and helping a prisoner escape.
One well publicised case against Parkins was the murder of Athlone police reservist Ernistine Veroni in April 2008. Parkins stood trial in the Wynberg Regional Court, but magistrate Bruce Langa acquitted him in October last year.
Langa found that there was insufficient evidence to convict Parkins of 21-year-old Veroni’s murder, the attempted murder of her boyfriend, Romeo Petersen, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Langa found that Petersen, who was with Veroni on the night she died, was an unreliable witness. The ballistics report linked spent cartridges found at the scene to a gun found at Parkins’s house in Milnerton.
But the two bullets removed from Veroni’s body did not form part of the evidence before the court. Langa found that the police, in searching Parkins’s house without a warrant a month after the shooting, acted unconstitutionally, which “fatally weakened the State’s case”.
Two others, Ashley Oliver and Oscar Williams, were initially charged with the same offences. Williams has since died. Oliver was acquitted of all counts.
Two separate cases were also pending against Parkins in the Mitchells Plain Regional Court.
In the first, Parkins and co-accused Dominic Bassier were charged with attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. They allegedly shot a man 16 times, but they were found not guilty earlier his year.
The other involved rape and murder, but the case against him was so weak that the State withdrew the charges.
The murder charge related to the killing of Mogamat Sedick Omar, 54, who was shot six times in the head, shoulder and chest in July 2007. Omar was rumoured to be a member of the Mongrels gang.
The remaining pending case against Parkins in the Wynberg Regional Court is one of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. Parkins is due back in court in March.