Cornelius "Corrie" Sanders Photo: Reuters

Pretoria - Nearly two years after former boxing heavyweight Corrie Sanders was killed, the trial of three men accused of murdering him has begun in the Pretoria High Court.

Paida Fish, Chris Moyo and Samuel Mabena appeared before Judge Ferdi Preller on Thursday on seven charges related to the events that led to Sanders’s death on September 21 at the Thatch Haven Country Lodge in Brits during a 21st birthday party for a member of the former boxer’s family.

The trio have been charged with murder, two counts of malicious damage to property relating to damage to two cars at the venue, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and a count of attempted murder arising from the wounding of a of one of the guests.

The men pleaded not guilty.

They were arrested a few days after the murder at the Oukasie informal settlement outside Brits.

Sanders’s second-round technical knock-out win against Vladimir Klitschko on March 8, 2003 is considered one of the best performances by a South African boxer.

Klitschko was considered the heir apparent to the great Lennox Lewis, so Sanders’s win was a great achievement, especially as Klitschko is back at the top again.

On the first day of the trial, the first officer on the scene, Constable Tumelo Maluleke, told the court that when he arrived, an ambulance, apparently with Sanders inside, was parked outside and medical personnel were attending to him. When he entered the party venue, there was blood on the floor.

“Gert Sanders approached me and said that the blood was his brother’s. I asked everyone to exit the room in a single file so I could secure the crime scene and cordon it off so it was not contaminated. I then placed boxes where there were cartridges.” He had four boxes, but found nine cartridges at the scene.

Maluleke said Gert Sanders told him he could identify the three men who committed the crime.

Constable Mmereki Senokwanyana, who took pictures of the crime scene, said he found 11 cartridges on the evening of murder and another one and a bullet fragment the next day. He sent the cartridges for DNA and ballistics tests.

Pretoria News