Student assaulted after Sharks match

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The 20-year-old Durban North student after being attacked by thugs after the Sharks vs Brumbies match, a week before Brett Williams was murdered. Photo: Supplied

Durban - The men being sought by the police for the killing of visitor Brett Williams at Kings Park Stadium have, through their attorneys, offered to surrender themselves.

“This was an offer from those identified as possible suspects,” police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge said last night. “We are closing the net on them. The provincial commissioner has assembled a special task team to investigate, and we have statements from potential witnesses.”

However, by Friday night no arrests had yet been made, much to the astonishment of people like Jason Kelland who commented on Facebook: “Seriously do not know why these guys have not been arrested yet!!! How many 100s of people must have seen them? There should be a queue 500m long outside the police to give their testimony.”

Meanwhile, The Independent on Saturday has established that the attack that cost South African-born former Royal Marine Williams his life was not the first nasty assault after a Sharks match recently.

At the previous home match, which saw the home team suffer a devastating loss against the Brumbies, three thugs hit and kicked a 20-year-old man unconscious. They continued to kick him on the ground while he was in that state. At least one kick was to his head.

The Durban North student, who fears having his identity made public, said he woke up back home the next day, could barely walk, suffered headaches and had hardly any memory of the three, except that one of them wore a leg brace and that they were “younger than me and white”.

“I made a comment about his leg brace. It was all fun and we laughed about it. We just walked past one another,” he said. “I understand if I offended him, but I don’t think it gave him permission to do that to me.”

The student’s uncle, Jason du Plessis, told what his nephew had not seen when he was “lights out”.

He said that, unlike those who allegedly killed Williams, his nephew’s attackers did not appear big enough to have been beefed up by steroids.

Du Plessis said one of them chirped back: “Are you making fun of the guy with the leg brace?

“We ignored them, and then when I looked around I saw my nephew on the floor and them kicking him. I tried my best to get them off. Other people saw me and started holding me back, as they would when trying to stop a fight.”

On Wednesday, when the student went to Gateway Centre to get an insurance quote for his damaged cellphone, he sat in the Wimpy where, to his horror, he read a report about Brett Williams having been kicked, strangled and beaten to death at the same stadium.

“I read the first couple of lines and thought: ‘Jeepers, I am lucky’,” he said. “I then sent an SMS to my mom to tell her about it, and at exactly the same moment she was messaging me the news.”

He had reported the matter to the police for insurance purposes.

Now, he’s in no mood to attend rugby matches. “I don’t want to go, to be honest. I would just be putting myself at risk.”

The student added: “I think they need to jack up the security there. Some people pay up to R1 800 for a season ticket. They should expect some form of security. People take their families there.”

Commentators on the social media have expressed similar concerns.

Shaun Andrew Harris wrote on Facebook: “I believe that when I take my family to watch a game, I am entitled to the protection of the security staff at the stadium.”

Others questioned why the Sharks should be held responsible.

“It was not a Sharks player that committed the crime,” wrote Julie Lyn Reynolds, “so why hold the Sharks responsible for it?”

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl could not be reached for comment.

Spokeswoman Novashni Chetty said the franchise was “not permitting any interviews on the incident”. She added that: “The safety of our patrons is of paramount importance to us, and we will put measures in place to ensure that this type of incident does not occur at our stadium again. We offer our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased, and strongly condemn this tragic incident.”

 

The SA Rugby Union could not be reached for comment.

Independent on Saturday


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