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Durban - A witness to the murder of Pinetown resident Errol Stainer during a hijacking last year described how his attackers drove over him several times to get out of the parking bay and flee the scene.
Stainer, who had been shot in the abdomen, was still alive at the time and was lying behind the back wheels of his car where he had fallen.
His friend and colleague, Bruce Johnstone, who saw the attack in the parking lot of a Sarnia, Pinetown, superette early on August 24, told Durban High Court Judge Mohini Moodley on Wednesday: “He was an obstruction. They could not move the vehicle so they reversed over him several times to get out.”
Johnstone was testifying at the trial of Siyabonga Nyanisa, 18, of New Germany, and Siboniso Ngcoya, also 18, who are charged with murdering 67-year-old Stainer and robbing him of his car and wallet.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Stainer had gone to buy the morning newspaper from his local shop when he was attacked by three young men - one of whom was wearing a blue “hoodie” and whom the state alleged was Nyanisa, believed to be the son of a local councillor.
Nyanisa was arrested after he was seriously injured after being struck by a car while he and two others were running across the freeway, close to where Stainer’s Opel Corsa had been abandoned after hitting a tree stump.
On Wednesday, Johnstone said that apart from working with Stainer, they had also lived in the same road and he and his fiancée had often popped by on their way to the taxi rank and sometimes got a lift from Stainer, who went to the shop to get the newspaper every morning.
That morning they stopped but declined a lift because they were late and his fiancée was in a hurry to get a taxi. After she boarded, Johnstone said he walked towards the shop but was “stopped in my tracks” by the sound of a gun being cocked.
“I saw an individual standing against the wall and then I saw two others coming out of the shop… I then noticed Errol walking out.
“The person wearing the blue top stepped towards him as he reached the driver’s door. They surrounded him.
“There was a four-second interval from the time the gunman stepped forward to the time the victim was shot … I shouted ‘hey!’ and then I heard a low groan from Errol who had his hands up, and then he fell to the ground.”
Johnstone said the newspapers and whatever else his friend was holding fell to the floor, and the attacker wearing the blue top bent down swiftly and picked something up.
He said the three attackers then jumped into Stainer’s car and after battling to start it, reversed over him before riding up on to the kerb, blowing the left front tyre, and then driving off, squeezing past a 4x4 which attempted to block their path.
He said he tried to assist his friend.
“I told him not to die, but to keep breathing and that I was going to fetch Jenny, his wife. He squeezed my hand but said nothing.
“I fetched Jenny (from home) and on the way when she asked me if he was still alive, I told her he was waiting for her.”
Shown the blood-stained blue hoodie, which is an exhibit before the court, Johnstone said: “The colour is the same but I cannot say it is the same jacket.”
The case will be adjourned this week to later in the year.