‘Race slur led to attack on cell mate’

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IOL  prison bars AFP

Two men accused of murdering airport freight clerk Eben Meyer inside a police cell were allegedly first attacked by him and called “k*****s” before they attacked him, the Bellville Magistrate’s Court has heard.

Daniel Dyosi, 40, and Sipho Mhlanga, 33, both testified in their bail applications on Monday.

Dyosi, who took the stand first, said he did not want to speak about the merits of the case as incriminating evidence, which may emerge during the bail hearing, could be used against him during the trial.

Mhlanga, however, chose to reveal what happened during the early morning hours of April 21.

Mhlanga testified that he and his co-accused had been arrested for drinking in public and held in a Durbanville police station cell with seven others.

At about 12.30am that Saturday, Meyer, who was arrested on the same charge, had entered the cell and started the name-calling. “We were asleep, (Meyer) woke us up and started assaulting (Dyosi).

“When I woke up, (Meyer) started assaulting me,” Mhlanga testified.

“(Meyer) said a number of things, like we are k*****s and not allowed to sleep there. We allowed him to assault us for 30 minutes and then we became tired and fought back.

“After we assaulted (him), (Meyer) apologised and (Dyosi) gave him a blanket and then we slept.”

At about4am, when police counted the inmates, they discovered that Meyer was dead.

Dyosi and Mhlanga were arrested and charged with murder.

During cross-examination, the prosecution asked Mhlanga how they beat Meyer. “With fists and an open hand,” he responded.

Prosecutor Andile Ngiba said the State was in possession of statements from witnesses who were willing to testify that the men had bashed Meyer’s head against the wall, kicked him repeatedly and knocked his head against the concrete floor.

Mhlanga denied the allegations.

Both men said they wanted to be released on bail to take care of their children and find new jobs.

The bail application continues next Wednesday.

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Cape Argus

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