Three in dock for attempted murder of cleaner
THREE young men – one a UCT student – have been charged with attempted murder after cleaner Delia Adonis was brutally assaulted in another “race-related” case in Cape Town.
Chad De Matos, 19, Aaron Mack, 20, and Mitchell Turner, 20, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, where they were also charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and crimen injuria yesterday.
De Matos and Turner, who are from East London, and Mack, from Knysna, were likened by State prosecutor Nathan Johnson to the Waterkloof Four, who were convicted of the murder of an unidentified vagrant in Pretoria’s Moreleta Park in 2001.
Johnson told the court were it not for Adonis’s son Tesh-Lee, who stopped the beating, she would surely be dead.
Yesterday, the accused wept in court after hearing they would be remanded at Pollsmoor Prison until tomorrow, when they will appear for a bail hearing.
Johnson told the court how Adonis, 52, a Manenberg mother-of-six who works as a cleaner at Stadium On Main in Claremont, was viciously attacked by five men in the shopping centre’s parking lot on October 17.
Adonis has since identified three of her attackers as De Matos, Mack and Turner. Two other men linked to the incident have since returned to their homes in East London and are being sought by police.
Johnson told magistrate Xoliswa Ndoyana yesterday: “The complainant (Adonis) lodged complaints of assault at Claremont police station on October 18 after she was severely beaten by five young men on October 17.
“Adonis witnessed the five leave Tiger Tiger nightclub and beat up another patron. After helping the victim by alerting law enforcement officers, Adonis was attacked by the five men, who also verbally abused her with racial slurs.
“She was kicked on her head and face and could not move. If her son had not intervened, she could have been killed. After reporting the matter, she was contacted by a detective, who offered her money to drop the charges. The detective then contacted the court to say Adonis had dropped the charges.
“I was called by an informant and told the detective had lied. I located the docket and contacted the station commander, who relayed that the detective was suspended for another matter. The State will look to bring charges of defeating the ends of justice and possible bribery against the detective.”
Arguing against an application for bail, Johnson told the court: “This is a schedule five offence which warrants attempted murder. The accused are not from Cape Town. We have not established their fixed addresses and two of the other suspects have already fled…
“The investigating officer also tampered with evidence and offered money to make the case go away. If released, what is stopping the accused from intimidating the complainant?
“Also in light of recent race-related cases, the court has a duty to protect the public.”
Defence lawyer for the accused, Asghar Mia, representing William Booth Attorneys, argued: “We are aware the detective asked accused number one (De Matos) for R700 to pay for the complainant’s medical fees.
“My client did not ask for charges to be dropped. He was approached by the detective. Also, if the accused wanted to run away, then they would have done so.”
Ndoyana then ruled: “The accused will remain in custody until Thursday, when they will appear for a full bail hearing.”
UCT spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said: “The allegations are extremely upsetting and we are working with police and the National Prosecuting Authority.”