Pietermaritzburg - A man charged with the murder of popular Eston farmer, Mick Hampson, told the court he had saved Hampson’s son, Murray, from being stabbed by his co-accused.
“I am not used to this kind of violent behaviour. I felt like I should protect them.”
This was the testimony of Jabulani Ngobese in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday.
Ngobese is on trial for murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. He has pleaded not guilty.
His accomplice, Siboniso Mtolo, pleaded guilty to Hampson’s murder last week and was sentenced to life behind bars.
Hampson, 69, was shot dead on September 27 when he and Murray confronted two men who were trespassing on their farm.
According to Murray, who testified during the trial, he and his father were talking to a group of workers when they noticed two suspicious-looking men walking on their property.
Hampson instructed them to get into the back of his bakkie and was driving them towards his farm house to call the police when the shooting took place.
Murray, who had a shotgun, was sitting in the back of the bakkie with the men when they wrestled the gun out of his hands and shot Hampson. The men then fled into the sugar cane plantation.
Hampson died at the scene.
Testifying in his defence on Wednesday, Ngobese told the court Mtolo had invited him to accompany him to a farm where he said they could steal an Isuzu bakkie.
On the day of the murder, he and Mtolo went to Eston and made their way on foot to a farm. It was while they were walking on the farm that they were approached by “two white men in a bakkie” who told them to “f*** off”.
“One of the men with a shotgun ordered us to get into the back of their bakkie. We complied and the white men continued hurling abuse at us,” Ngobese said.
He explained that it was after they were told they were being taken to the police to explain their presence on the farm, that Mtolo began getting “agitated”.
He said Mtolo attacked Murray and wrestled him for the shotgun. He shouted at Ngobese to help him. That is when Ngobese intervened, grabbed the gun and threw it on the ground.
The three men fell to the ground and that is when Ngobese said Mtolo tried to stab Murray.
“I pushed him (Murray) out of the way. It was unnecessary for him to be stabbed,” Ngobese said.
He explained that he then saw Mtolo grab the gun. He later heard a gunshot and realised Mtolo had shot Hampson.
Ngobese said he was afraid of Mtolo with the shotgun in his hands.
“I did not know what he was capable of. I was in fear,” Ngobese said.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Candy Kander, Ngobese could not explain why he had a knife if he had not foreseen he would have to use violence to achieve his goal. He could also not explain why Murray identified Ngobese as the man who tried to stab him, while Mtolo was wrestling him for the gun.
The case is proceeding.