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Witnesses live in fear of murder accused pupil

Crime & Courts
Kimberley - The Upington High School pupil, who has been accused of murdering 19-year-old Kimberley resident, Riedwaan Mackay, before burning and dumping his body, is likely to learn on Monday whether he will be granted bail.

The State opposed bail for 19-year-old Christopher Ortell on Friday, for what investigating officer Captain Sylvester Magugu believes was a premeditated murder.

While testifying on the specifics of the case, Magugu described the killing as a “brutal, barbaric and senseless murder”, adding that witnesses to the crime and the relatives of the deceased were living in fear of Ortell.

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The State opposed bail for 19-year-old Christopher Ortell on Friday, for what investigating officer Captain Sylvester Magugu believes was a premeditated murder. Picture: Soraya Crowie/DFA

Mackay, along with his VW Golf 7, was reported missing at the Kimberley Police Station on April 13

“We received information that the deceased was murdered,” Magugu told the court on Friday. 

“His car was found on April 16 in West End, not far from his residence, with the licence plates and towbar removed. Traces of blood were found on the towbar and other parts of the car.”

Magugu said that two days later, he received a call from the SAPS in Rosedale, Upington, informing him that the accused had handed himself over to the police.

“When interviewed, he said he handed himself over because he heard that the police in Kimberley were looking for him but he was not sure why."

“When I interviewed him he denied knowledge of the crime and driving the deceased’s car.”

“According to him, he had seen the deceased only once since he arrived in Kimberley.”

Mackay’s body was later found in the veld near the R31 to Barkly, not far from the Kalahari Lodge, after a witness, who allegedly assisted in transporting the body, told police the location. “It had been burned and was in an advanced stage of decomposition.”

While on the scene, Magugu learned that Ortell wanted to make a confession and the following day he, according to Magugu, admitted to killing the deceased.

An autopsy revealed that Mackay had sustained a long and potentially fatal cut to his head.

“I was present during the post-mortem,” said Magugu. “A sock was removed from his mouth and a belt had been tied around his mouth and nose. The blow on the head was described as fatal by the doctor but the main cause of death was determined to have been smothering.”

Magugu added that the witness had stated that Ortell had attempted to burn the body in order to destroy evidence, while Ortell alleges that it was the witness who committed the offence.

“This murder was premeditated,” Magugu emphasised in court. “We have a statement that the accused invited the deceased to his house under false pretences, saying that he had a TV he wanted to sell and needed the deceased to assist with transport.

“When he got to the house, they argued about a tablet that the accused claims the deceased pawned to a drug lord for drugs.

“Two of the witnesses state that they saw the deceased in the accused’s house, tied up with an extension cord."

“I’m opposed to bail because this is a very serious matter. It’s a brutal, barbaric and senseless murder. It was well planned and executed.”

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