Durban - A key witness in the trial of the four “Kings Park brawlers” accused of the murder of former British Royal Marine Brett Williams, 29, almost a year ago, testified on Monday that one of the group had called him the next day suggesting they should meet “to get our stories straight”.
“I told him that I was not involved and he must tell his story and I will tell mine,” Grant Cramer, 24, said, relating the conversation he alleged he had with his best friend and gym buddy, Blayne Shepard, 24.
Shepard is on trial before Durban regional court magistrate Trevor Levitt with his brother, Kyle, 26, and friends Andries van der Merwe, 24, and Dustin van Wyk, 24, on murder and other charges relating to the events of March 23 after the Sharks-Rebels rugby match at the stadium.
Cramer, who is dating Kirsten Cooper, the sister of Sharks player Kyle Cooper, was involved in a fight with Williams that night and was also initially arrested and charged with the crimes. But the State withdrew the charges, saying his actions had been in self-defence and he was not involved in the later brawl that led to Williams’s death.
All four pleaded not guilty, with the brothers raising “admissibility and constitutional issues”, alleging there had not been an objective and unbiased investigation, including into the possible effect of the first assault by Cramer on Williams and the cause of death.
It was a tough day for Williams’s fiancée, Louise Scott, who came from England for the trial and who sat in the back corner of the courtroom listening to Cramer’s evidence regarding the last minutes of Williams’s life. At times it was too much for her to bear and she wept quietly.
Cramer alleged that he, the accused and other friends had watched the rugby and then gone to Rovers, within the stadium precinct, for drinks.
He said he had only two or three drinks and was “very sober”.
When they were leaving, Kirsten and Blayne had started insulting each other, as they often did, and she had become cross with him for not defending her.
The couple were in the vicinity of the tractor shed, still arguing, when Williams came up and asked what was wrong. Cramer told him to mind his own business.
Then Williams approached Kirsten, asking if she was “on f****** s***”, presumably referring to drugs.
Cramer claims that when he confronted Williams, the former Marine punched him, took another swing, but missed and fell over. He got up and took a swing at him again. Cramer grabbed him by the chest and pulled him to the ground. When he let him go, Williams attacked him again.
Cramer said he grabbed him in a necklock and Williams slumped to the ground. Williams was resuscitated by paramedics.
Cramer said a friend noticed that his chain – which his sister had given to him when his baby was born – was missing and he started hunting for it.
“Blayne came up to me and said they saw me in a fight and was I okay. I said, ‘Ja, bru, I am fine. I just want to find my chain’.”
While he was looking for it, Williams insulted Kyle Shepard and threw a punch at him. “Williams was standing with his back against the shed. I then heard Blayne say ‘You want to hurt my brother’, and he ran towards them.”
Cramer said he knew there was a brawl, but did not see what was happening, although at one stage he saw the brothers and Van der Merwe “throwing punches and kicking” Williams, who was standing. “I don’t know if they landed.”
He turned around to continue looking for his chain and, when he looked back, the four men were gone.
He and other friends walked to the nearby Stables parking area, where they were surrounded by security guards. A man – from security or a paramedic – had run up and said the man who had been assaulted had brain damage and the others had run away. A security guard said he had also been assaulted and showed him a gash in his leg.
“I insisted I had done nothing wrong… and they all agreed that it was the man in the pink shirt.”
He found out the next day that the man had died.
Cramer will be cross-examined on Tuesday.