Cape Town gang members convicted of murdering state witness
Cape Town – Two members of one of the most notorious gangs in Cape Town were convicted on five charges, including the murder of a State witness.
Ashwin Willemse and Waylin Abdullah, members of the The Firm gang, were found guilty in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday on two counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, illegal possession of firearms and the illegal possession of ammunition.
State prosecutor advocate Lenro Badenhorst proved the State’s case beyond reasonable doubt in that the accused shot and killed Gregory Carelse, a law enforcement officer employed by the City of Cape Town’s community safety development department and a police reservist at the Bishop Lavis police station.
According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, Carelse became a State witness after he witnessed a drive-by shooting which took place in Forel Street in Valhalla Park on October 17, 2017.
Three gang members were shot dead by members of The Firm gang. Carelse arrested Abraham Wilson, a member of The Firm, and two others, including Craig Stanfield, who is a relative of alleged 28s gang leader Ralph Stanfield, in Valhalla Park.
A year later, as the triple murder trial was set to start at the high court, the State’s star witness, Carelse, was shot dead.
On October 18, 2018, Carelse told his son he was leaving home to respond to a shooting incident in the community, taking his pistol with him.
Minutes later, when Carelse’s daughter left for work, his son heard shots and ran out to see whether his sister was safe. However, he said he witnessed his father’s murder and saw Willemse and Abdullah empty 16 bullets into his father’s body.
Carelse was also robbed of his firearm at the time of his shooting.
His son could positively identify his father’s killers as he knew the accused – he attended the same school with one of the accused and knew the other from the community.
The accused were adamant they were innocent and pleaded not guilty. They were also charged for the murder of Prezano Holland, also a member of the The Firm.
Badenhorst will be asking the court for life imprisonment for both accused when the counsels argue in aggravation of sentence.
The matter has been postponed until October 15 for sentencing proceedings.
African News Agency (ANA)