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Corrie Sanders’ 16-year-old daughter Marinique has told a court how her father was shot and killed while protecting her.
“My father moved in front of me to protect me. With his right arm he pulled me down to the ground. By that time he was already shot and his blood ran past me.”
Yesterday, Marinique bravely faced the men accused of killing her father in September 2012.
Zimbabweans Samuel Mabena, Chris Moyo and Paida Fish are on trial in the North Gauteng High Court for the murder of Sanders. They have pleaded not guilty.
Sanders was shot during an armed robbery at the Thatch Haven Country Lodge, outside Brits, while attending his nephew’s 21st birthday party.
He died the next day in Kalafong Hospital.
The accused also face charges of malicious damage to property relating to two damaged vehicles at the lodge, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and attempted murder after one of the guests was wounded.
The trio were arrested a few days after the incident in the Oukasie informal settlement, outside Brits.
Marinique, who was standing next to her father when he was shot, was called to testify yesterday.
“Me, my father and my cousin were standing and chatting near the entrance to the boma. I was facing the entrance and my father was next to me. The next moment three men stormed in and started shooting,” she said.
She was 15 at the time.
The men ordered all the guests to “lie down” and demanded their handbags, cell phones and cash.
After pulling her to the ground, Sanders told Marinique to pretend she was dead.
“I was lying on the ground with my face down. They fired more shots,” she told the court.
She noticed her father had been shot in the right arm, just below his elbow, and was bleeding. It later emerged that Sanders had been shot through the arm and the bullet penetrated his stomach.
The men, after robbing some of the guests, got a fright when a car alarm went off in the nearby parking area and ran away, firing more shots in the direction of the parking lot.
“I jumped up to see where my mother was. I ran to her and told her my father was shot,” Marinique testified.
Shortly after the shooting, Sanders was stabilised by paramedics at the scene before being taken to hospital.
“I went with my father to the ambulance but I stayed behind at the venue where my mother gave her statement in the parking lot. We then went home,” she said.
She did not look at the assailants faces and said she could not identify them.
Sanders’s ex-wife Sunet, a teacher at Theresa Park Primary School, hid under one of the tables when the shooting started.
She was also called to the stand yesterday. Visibly nervous, she described the events.
“I sat between the first and second tables, chatting to an elderly couple. I was facing Corrie and Marinique at the time of the incident.”
To the right of her former husband she saw a man in a hooded jacket wielding a firearm. “I saw other men running into the boma. They shouted for everyone to lie down.”
It was then that she realised the situation was serious and they were being robbed.
“I fell to the ground and crept halfway under one of the tables. I was lying on top of my handbag.”
She heard a volley of shots but did not look up, and could not identify the attackers.
“I only saw one of the men take my daughter’s handbag which was lying next to me.”
Marinique’s handbag had a cellphone and a camera she had received as birthday gifts from her parents.
When the car alarm went off Sunet heard the men telling each other they had to make their escape.
“I was in the ambulance next to Corrie before he was taken to hospital. I told him everything would be okay and that I would follow him to the hospital with the children,” she said.
Sanders told Sunet to take the children home because he was in bad shape.
“His clothes were full of blood and he did not want them to see their father like that. He told us to come the next morning,” she said.
She was later told Sanders was taken to several hospital including Steve Biko Academic Hospital before being admitted to Kalafong west of the city.
Judge Ferdi Preller apologised to Sunet and her daughter for having to testify in the murder trial of their loved one.
The trial continues on Monday.