Thursday, 28 February 2008

Samaritan's last food mission

27/02/2008 19:31 - (SA)

Pietermaritzburg - British voluntary charity worker Lyle Andrew Stephens, 28, was shot and fatally wounded while taking food to an orphanage near Hillcrest in February 2006, the High Court here was told on Wednesday.

Gang members pulled the unconscious Stephens from his car, left him at the roadside and then drove off in it, said Stephens' colleague, Justin Roberts.

Judge Ron McLaren heard that Roberts, also a British charity worker, was in Stephens's car when a gang member shot at them.

Mthethowakhe Zuma Nzama, 26, of Hillcrest, pleaded not guilty to the crimes, but a prisoner who is serving a life sentence and 15 years' jail for the same crimes, Frans Khemisa, 27, told the court that Nzama had been in the gang.

He said another gang member, Nico Zikhali, was the gunman.

Nzama was still at large when Khemisa stood trial.

Roberts said that while Stephens was driving to the orphanage, four men approached the car. A man fired two shots at the car and he and Stephens ducked to avoid the bullets.

Taxi drivers wouldn't help

Stephens drove on, but shots were fired and Stephens was hit.

Roberts was told to get out of the car and gang members got into the car, throwing Stephens from the vehicle.

The gang drove off. Roberts said that he tried flagging down two taxi drivers, but they did not want to get involved.

A bakkie driver put Stephens and Roberts in the back of his vehicle and drove to a TB clinic, but they were told that the clinic was not equipped to deal with Stephens' condition.

They drove towards Botha's Hill when they were overtaken by paramedics who connected Stephens to life-support equipment.

An ambulance took him to a hospital - Roberts said he was told that Stephens had died.

The trial continues.


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