Johannesburg -The Klerksdorp Regional Court acquitted hairdresser Gideon Bouwer, accused of setting his girlfriend alight, of murder, according to a report on Friday.
The court ruled that the State was unable to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the 38-year-old was guilty of murder, the Beeld newspaper reported.
Bouwer was accused of setting Nelmari Lyon alight in March 2008, after a braai behind his salon. There were no witnesses, the newspaper reported.
“I went to hell and back. For the first time it feels like I can breathe again,” Bouwer told Beeld.
“When I was acquitted, I burst out in tears. It feels like I can continue with my life again.”
The case was abandoned in terms of article 147 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
A few weeks prior to the incident, Lyon started working for Bouwer. The two were involved in a romantic relationship, Beeld reported.
Lyon died in hospital on April 12 in 2008 from her burn wounds. It came to light, during the trial, that she refused further medical treatment in a state hospital.
“She took a five-litre hairspray can to pour out over the fire to ignite the fire,” Bouwer said.
“I went to visit her twice a day, every day. I took her food and cold water, did her hair and brushed her teeth. I loved her. Her mom started the stories that I threw petrol over Nellie (Lyon).”
The trial lasted four and a half years. - Sapa