140324. Cape Town. Jason Elias leaving the courtroom during a break. 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 -

One of the men accused of killing Olwyn Cowley in the so-called Gumtree murder trial contacted Cowley a couple of days before he died and gave a false name – but his real ID number.

The Western Cape High Court heard that was how police were able to trace Jason Elias.

Constable Niki Mdibaniso, who was stationed at Bothasig police station, testified on Monday that he responded to a missing person’s report on August 30, 2012.

Mdibaniso said Cowley’s girlfriend Bianca Booysen had been the last person to be in touch with him. Cowley had sent her a message saying that he was to meet “Jason” – a prospective buyer for his silver grey BMW 325i – around 5pm that day.

Cowley, 21, had however met Elias a few days before he was murdered, and left a note with what turned out to be a false name, Jason Petersen, his real ID number and the asking price of R60 000.

Mdibaniso said Booysen had shown him the handwritten notes.

Mdibaniso went back to the police station and loaded the identity number on to the police’s electronic system, establishing Elias’s name and address. He then contacted Mitchells Plain police who were already at Elias’s Westridge house.

Elias is on trial with Shawaal Staggie, Rameez Felix, Soegbudien Abvajee and his ex-girlfriend, Tania Majiet.

The men have pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated robbery, and Majiet not guilty to being an accessory to murder after the fact. The stolen BMW was allegedly washed at her house and Cowley’s cellphone was traced to her.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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