September 20 2006 at 08:08AM
The Pretoria High Court on Tuesday heard how two Centurion residents were shot dead at point-blank range by housebreakers while asleep in their homes in Amberfield Heights.
In the first incident, David du Toit was shot in the stomach and chest on November 11 2004. The robbers fled with only his wallet. Du Toit died in his bed after paramedics took about 50 minutes to get to the scene, Acting Judge Mahomed Ismail was told.
The robbers - allegedly part of the same gang - broke into another townhouse in the security village some three weeks later. This time Martin Gilfillan was shot at point-blank range while asleep. He died on the scene after the paramedics took an hour or more to get to him.
Billy Peter Mbewe, 21, of Marabastad, and Jabu Nkosi (age unknown), of Driedoring plots, outside Pretoria pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including two of murder, two of attempted murder and an array of robbery and housebreaking charges.
Devon du Toit, whose father was murdered in November 2004, testified how he heard his father calling out to him in the early hours of the morning. "I went to his room. He was lying on his back, holding his cellphone. He told me to phone the paramedics."
Du Toit said he was under the impression that his father could not breathe. It was only while phoning that he noticed two cartridges on the ground. He then saw his father had been wounded. Du Toit said he did not notice any suspects in the house, but he did notice that several appliances, such as the video machine, were dismantled. The culprits only ran off with his father's wallet.
Constable DA Porter told the court he was investigating a housebreaking in Rooihuiskraal on December 2 2004 when he heard shots at the nearby Amberfield Heights. He saw two men running from the complex. He and another officer rushed to the scene.
He could not find the suspects and went to check on Gilfillan, who was shot in his home. A security officer tried to stop the blood while he (Porter) phoned the paramedics. "I tried to contact them a few times and they took very long to get to the scene. It was about an hour, if not longer."
Porter said he could see Gilfillan becoming weaker and weaker. "He eventually lost consciousness. When the paramedics eventually arrived, they declared him dead," he testified.
Another victim, Josias Cilliers, who had a narrow escape, said he was in his townhouse unit in Amberfield Heights on December 2 2004 when he heard shots being fired.
"I looked out of the window and saw a man standing at the nearby wall. I shone my torch into his face. He came to stand right in front of my window and I saw he had a firearm in his hand. He fired a shot and it hit the bricks next to my window."
Cilliers said the man went away briefly, but returned to the window with two others.
They looked at him through the window, but the three then for some or other reason ran off.
Mbewe, through his advocate, told the court that he only went along that night to carry the loot. He said he waited outside the complex and that he did not know that his accomplices were going to kill people.
The case continues.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on September 20, 2006