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Judgement starts in Spar murder trial

Pretoria - Judgment started on Friday in the trial of a man accused of murdering a community watch member and almost killing his friend during a robbery three years ago.

Judge Winston Msimeki would conclude judgment in the trial of Mandla Ntuli, 29, of Thokoza, in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Ntuli faces 11 charges including murder, attempted murder and several of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

A member of the Mnandi Community Watch, Andre Erlank Sr, miraculously survived after being shot in the chest while trying to raise help on his two-way radio when he realised the Mnandi Spar, in Tulip Street, south-west of Pretoria, was being robbed.

The robbers shot and killed Erlank’s friend and fellow Community Watch member Louis Viljoen, 39, in his car.

Erlank and his son Andre Jr had stopped at the shop on February 2, 2009. His his son had just gone inside when a gang of robbers stormed in and started shooting.

He told the court he believed he was going to be killed. He testified how one of the robbers looked him in the eyes and shot him without saying a word. After he crawled out of his car two of the robbers pinned him to the ground and searched him for his cellphone and money while he was clutching his chest trying to stem the spurting blood.

Ntuli pleaded not guilty to all the charges and denied any involvement in the robbery.

Two of his alleged accomplices, Mzokhona Sipho Nene, 23, and Sbusiso Sfiso Sibiya, 24, were still at large after skipping bail.

The shop's owner was robbed of R19,000 and his cellphone. The thieves emptied the tills and robbed several customers of their cellphones and wallets.

They slapped and pulled a pregnant cashier around, causing her to lose the baby.

One of the cashiers at the store identified Ntuli as the robber who had pointed a pistol at his head, took his cellphone and ordered him to show them the office.

Judgment continues. - Sapa

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