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Traumatised cop won't testify

By unknown | Mar 05, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

The death of her husband in the Jeppestown massacre traumatised Leonie van Heerden so much that she will not testify during the trial in the Johannesburg high court.

Van Heerden, a police inspector, was shot in the head during the shootout. Though she survived, her husband, Inspector Frederick "Frikkie" van Heerden, was among the four policemen who were killed during the gun battle.

Investigating officer Superintendent Gert Serfontein told the court yesterday that though it was two years after the Jeppestown bloodbath, Van Heerden had still not come to terms with the tragedy.

"The death of her husband has affected her so much that she is still seeing a psychiatrist even now.

"She will not be testifying during the trial because she is not yet stable. I couldn't even get her to give me a statement," said Serfontein.

Three other key state witnesses who will not testify in the trial are Obert Tshivinda, Welheminah Raphuthi and Anthony Robins.

Serfontein told the court that Tshivinda claimed some relatives of the accused threatened him, causing him to resign his job and disappear.

Tshivinda was a security guard at the Pick n Pay in Honeydew. He alerted the police during the robbery and was also shot at.

Robins, who was shopping at the supermarket during the robbery, decided to emigrate to Australia after the incident. Raphuthi is too ill to testify.


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