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Cape Town - Former Western Province cricketer Luke Fairweather slammed a city traffic officer so hard against a car’s rear windscreen that it broke.
Describing the last moments of Fairweather’s life on a Newlands street two years ago, Officer Ian Sinclair told a Wynberg inquest court on Wednesday that he drew his firearm with his right hand, and Fairweather reached for it, covering Sinclair’s hand with his own.
Sinclair said: “I did not pull the trigger. With the violent struggle for possession of the firearm a shot was discharged.” Fairweather, wounded in the stomach, fell to his knees. “His hand was still on mine. He said: ‘You are going to die.’ Another traffic officer released his hand from mine,” Sinclair said.
Fairweather collapsed and died. He was 49.
Sinclair, 62, said that on that day, January 5, 2011, he had been tasked with escorting the South African cricket team from their hotel in the city centre to Newlands and back.
After arriving at the stadium at 9.05am, he began general patrol duties around the stadium.
At about 4.55pm he was writing a traffic ticket on Mariendahl Road when he saw a Honda Jazz draw up in a no-stopping area. He began filling in a ticket for the Honda. By the time he had written it, the car had moved to where he was standing. He slipped the ticket through the window to the “elderly woman driving” - Fairweather’s mother, Margeret - and asked her to move the car, which she did.
“Three minutes later I was approached by a member of the public. He was 5 foot 10 inches, around 130kg and well-built. He walked straight up to me, his face a thumb’s width from mine, and said: ‘Why did you give my mother a f***ing ticket?’”
“He walked back to the car, now parked in a driveway, crumpled up the ticket and threw it on the ground.”
Sinclair said he told Fairweather to pick it up: “I said, ‘Pick up the ticket or…’ and he interrupted me and said: ‘Well, then, f***ing well arrest me.’
“He advanced towards me and used his body to push me back in a very aggressive manner.”
Sinclair stepped back. Fairweather got into the car and reached for the door handle, but it slipped out of his hand, which seemed to infuriate him.
“He got out of the vehicle violently and launched an aggressive assault… He… hit me on the upper body. I back-pedalled and drew my firearm… and pointed it to the ground… I thought that would stop the assault. He saw the firearm and shouted: ‘You want to shoot me, pull the f***ing trigger.’
“He grabbed me by the chest and arms and rammed me into the rear window of a Renault Scenic, which broke the back window.” A struggle for the gun followed, and a shot was discharged.
“I did not pull the trigger.”
Sinclair said he had bruises to his eye, cheek, rib cage, arm and hand. He felt shocked, disoriented and confused.
The hearing continues on Thursday.