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Kimberley - The Carrington Road shooting drama, which left one suspect dead and a police officer with his throat slit, played out in the Northern Cape Regional Court on Wednesday.
Anthony Kruger has pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery with extenuating circumstances and kidnapping.
Kruger is one of the two men who were allegedly involved in the hijacking of a Kimberley woman on January 15 this year, and a shoot-out in which the other hijacking suspect, Hendrik Coetzee, was killed by a policeman after Coetzee stabbed him with a knife the following day.
The two policemen involved in the stabbing and subsequent shoot-out on Wednesday gave accounts of what transpired on the morning of January 16, when the normally tranquil Carrington Road in Belgravia turned deadly.
According to the evidence they presented, Sergeant Lukas Jacobs was driving a marked double cab Toyota bakkie, with Warrant Officer Cecil de la Rey in the passenger seat, when they spotted two men who fitted the description of suspects wanted in connection with a hijacking at the North Cape Mall the previous day.
Jacobs and De la Rey followed the two men down Central Road in Beaconsfield to where they turned into a side street and then into Main Road in the direction of the city.
Just before Carrington Road, the policemen stopped the men and requested that they accompany them to the Kimberley Police Station.
The two police officers explained to the men that they were not under arrest and that they were just being taken in for questioning.
Although Coetzee was reluctant, both men got into the vehicle after being searched. De la Rey found a pocketknife and a small mirror, which he confiscated, on Kruger, while nothing was found on Coetzee when searched by Jacobs. The two got into the vehicle with Coetzee sitting on the driver’s side behind Jacobs and Kruger behind De la Rey on the passenger side.
Both policemen testified that they activated the child locks on the back doors, making it impossible for the men to open the doors.
After they turned into Carrington Road, Coetzee pulled out a knife and started stabbing Jacobs in the neck, resulting in a massive cut from below his jaw to just under his ear. When De la Rey noticed the blood coming from his colleague’s neck, he turned towards Coetzee and aimed his firearm at him.
He instructed him to stop or he would shoot.
When Coetzee refused to let go, he pulled the trigger of his 9mm pistol twice, but the weapon misfired.
He then hit Coetzee on the jaw with his fist and Coetzee released Jacobs.
Kruger then grabbed De la Rey’s firearm and a scuffle ensued, while Jacobs took out his firearm and fired three shots through his seat from below his left arm. None of the shots hit Coetzee.
Kruger meanwhile escaped from the vehicle by breaking the window and was chased by De la Rey to the opposite side of the road, where he fell after De la Rey hit him in the back.
While Kruger was being apprehended by De la Rey, a struggle ensued between Coetzee and Jacobs.
Coetzee was forced onto the passenger side of vehicle and Jacobs shot him twice in the chest. He fell onto the road and was declared dead on the scene after the two policemen called for an ambulance and back-up.
Kruger’s defence lawyer, Barend Titus, pointed out that his client disputed the version of events presented by the police officers in court.
The arresting officer, Marcus Mofaru, who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, told the court how he found Kruger sitting in the back of a police van with a bandage wrapped around his head. He had apparently sustained a head injury after jumping from the vehicle.
He also found a white bag containing a GPS, believed to have been taken during the hijacking, in the back of the police bakkie.
Kruger then took him to the caravan park where he stayed with Coetzee.
The police found a cellphone belonging to the hijacking victim, Coleen Louw, in the caravan.
Police later also found jewellery, also belonging to Louw, in the pockets of the deceased.
Mofaru also indicated that he found an ID document and other “psychological” documentation stating that Coetzee was a schizophrenic who was released from a jail in Namibia in 2009.
The case was postponed to November 27 and Kruger will remain in custody. He is expected to take the stand when the case resumes.
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