140324. Cape Town. 5 People appeared in the Cape Town High court for the so-called Gumtree murder case in which 21-year-old Olwyn Cowley was killed while trying to sell his car. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus. Reporter Jade Witton

Cape Town - The four men on trial in the “Gumtree murder” case were not working as a team on the day Olwyn Cowley was shot in the head during a test drive of the vehicle he was trying to sell, the Western Cape High Court has heard.

This is the testimony of one of the accused, Jason Elias, who was driving the BMW when Cowley was shot.


Elias, Shawaal Staggie, Rameez Felix and Soegbudien Abvajee are in the dock. They have pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated robbery.

The State claims the four murdered Cowley after he met them at Canal Walk with his BMW, which he advertised on the Gumtree website. Cowley was shot during a test drive of the car on August 30, 2012.

His body was found along Baden Powell Drive.

Elias claims he was a witness to “a terrible” crime that traumatised him.

Mornay Calitz, for Felix, revisited events on the day of the murder. Calitz said it was Elias and Abvajee who went to meet Cowley the day he died, the pair were with Cowley when he was shot and together when the body was dumped.

“Do you see a golden thread?’ he asked Elias. “As I explained, the team here is accused number one and four (Elias and Abvajee).”

Elias asked: “The team?”

Calitz replied: “Yes.”

“No, I was the one going through an ordeal, I witnessed a murder, we were not a team,” Elias said.

Abvajee has pleaded guilty to murdering Cowley. In a plea explanation he claimed he had been under threat by the other men in the car.

The trial continues.

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Cape Argus