Kings Park Stadium in Durban. File photo: Marilyn Bernard
Kings Park Stadium in Durban. File photo: Marilyn Bernard

Man beaten to death at rugby after-party

By Bronwyn Fourie Time of article published Mar 27, 2013

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Durban - A 29-year-old visitor from England who watched the Sharks take on the Melbourne Rebels at Kings Park Stadium on Saturday was beaten to death after the match while partying with rugby supporters at the stadium’s clubs.

Brett Williams, a former South African citizen who has lived in the UK since he was a child, was apparently killed by a group of fellow patrons near the Sharks Supporters’ Club at about 10pm. Police say he was severely beaten with “clenched fists and booted feet”.

He died at the stadium.

Williams, a maritime security operator, was in Durban for only a short time after the ship on which he was working docked in Durban harbour. He was due to travel to Joburg the day after the match to see his cousin Tarryn Williams and other relatives.

Independent witnesses to the fight did not know what started it, but said Williams did not appear to have been the instigator. The witnesses did not want to be named.

A woman who had been standing outside the supporters’ club said she saw a scuffle in which Williams may have bumped someone and then apologised.

However, after that clash subsided another “enraged” patron started a fight.

“It is just so scary when you see that silver body cover being put over someone. You don’t expect something like this at rugby,” she said.

Another long-time Sharks supporter said she saw security guards running and stadium management rushing to the scene in golf carts. At one stage people scattered in different directions, but the woman noticed one man – described as a “bodybuilder type” with a shaved head and wearing a tight shirt – walking away high-fiving his friends. A few security guards were in pursuit of him.

“He (Williams) was on the floor, still alive at that stage. Paramedics were attending to him but they said his vitals were failing.”

On Tuesday, a devastated Tarryn Williams said that her cousin had attended the match with members of his crew from the ship, but that they had not been present when the fight started.

“He was not a trouble starter; he was the most placid guy,” she said.

Williams had been in the Royal Marines in the UK, but left about a year ago to work as a maritime security operator.

Tarryn said his parents were “not in a good place” following the news of their son’s death, and the family was heartbroken.

She said she was dissatisfied at the progress in the case.

“He was murdered on Saturday, but we only found out all the details today. We were only notified of his death (on Monday) and that was by the British embassy.

“Why have no arrests been made? There were obviously lots of people there who saw it.”

Some said he was beaten by a group of four men, others said there were more. It has also been said that the fight originated outside the One Stop club, but heightened near the supporters’ club.

However, George Laas, the chairman of the Sharks Supporters’ Club, claimed he had not been aware of any fight in or near his club. One Stop owner Chris Theron said “half the stadium” attended his club at some point after matches, and he was informed of this incident only at about midnight.

Police spokesman Vince Mdunge said police were gathering statements from witnesses and he hoped they would identify – and then arrest – the person or people responsible.

He said the process should not be lengthy and an arrest should take place soon, but added that police resources were also tied up with the Brics summit.

Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl said the franchise had conducted an internal investigation and was satisfied that its contracted service providers, Fidelity Security and ER24, had done everything possible to assist in stopping the fight.

“We pride ourselves on providing a world-class display in a safe and secure environment. The safety of our patrons is of paramount importance,” Van Zyl said.

“This is a senseless, isolated incident and the stadium will ensure that we do everything possible to avoid incidents like this occurring in the future.”

The Mercury

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