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Man accused of killing girlfriend 'casually walked around naked during the blaze’

Yeshnee Kuni was set alight five years ago, allegedly by her boyfriend, Darren Kershaw. Picture supplied

Yeshnee Kuni was set alight five years ago, allegedly by her boyfriend, Darren Kershaw. Picture supplied

Published Jun 7, 2023


Cape Town - A witness in the murder case of the Burgundy Estate woman who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend said the accused nonchalantly walked around the house naked during the blaze.

Desmond Combrinck testified during the trial of Darren Kershaw, who allegedly killed his girlfriend Yeshnee Kuni, 33, five years ago on Woman’s Day. Out on bail, the accused sat in the dock as he heard the witness describe the fire incident.

Combrinck was the only person who tried to help extinguish the blaze.

“I was driving with my son, who was three years old at the time, and when I drove into the complex I could see something like smoke and there was a light illuminating the victim’s dark house. I realised it was flames in the house.”

He said he jumped over the wall and went to the side door, which leads to the kitchen.

“I saw a garden hose under the braai area, and noticed that the coals were warm. I pulled it and then opened the tap, the water pressure was very low,” Combrinck explained.

“Through the smoke I saw Darren casually walking into the lounge where two couches were alight. At first I couldn’t make out his face but I could see from the chest down that he was totally naked. He got closer to me and I saw it was him, I shouted that he should watch out, he saw me and got a fright. I don’t think he realised that anyone was there.

“I noticed he grabbed something and started hitting the couch, I thought he was trying to extinguish the flames.”

The witness explained that the accused sprinted back into the room.

“I then ran out to try and open the tap for a stronger flow of water.

“When I went back to the house I heard a woman shouting: Help! Help! Somebody help me.

“The voice came from the back of the house, where Darren came from.”

Darren Kershaw is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Yeshnee Kuni, who was set alight five years ago. Picture supplied

In an effort to save Kuni, Combrinck said he jumped out of the yard to try and open the front door but there was a security gate and he also couldn’t open the garage door.

He went back into the courtyard where he broke a window he thought he could climb into.

“I slashed my forearm during that and then shouted for help. I went out of the yard and the neighbours were standing outside,” he explained.

“A neighbour tied a gown belt around the wound and wrapped it with a towel.”

Crombrinck told the court that Kershaw, fully clothed, and Kuni emerged from the garage.

“I couldn’t see Yeshnee’s face properly but when I got closer I saw her face had blisters. Yeshnee said: Help me and my dog, I want my dog. She was concerned about her dog. Darren went back into the house and got the dog.”

Combrinck then left Burgundy Estate to go to hospital.

The court adjourned to this morning for more cross-examination.

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Cape Argus