Suspect in Westbury woman's murder claims identity compromised

A suspect appeared in court for the murder of a Westbury woman.
A suspect appeared in court for the murder of a Westbury woman.

Three men accused of murdering a 45-year-old Westbury, Johannesburg woman had their bail application postponed. 

The three suspects, aged 18, 21, and 32, appeared briefly in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court where they face charges of murder for allegedly shooting and killing Heather Peterson. 

Peterson was hit by a bullet in her back, allegedly during shootout between the three accused. 

Magistrate Shumani Oriel Vele postponed their matter until November 14 because the 32-year-old suspect was yet to undergo an identity parade. The accused had his identity parade cancelled on Saturday after claiming that his lawyer lodged a complaint because his identity had been compromised.

The suspect proceeded to disturb court proceedings and told magistrate Vele that his name, picture and age were published by the SABC. 

Vele ordered for his identity parade to be conducted on October 27 in order to have finality over his identity before their bail application. 

He further ruled that the media cannot publish the suspects’ names and pictures because investigations were outstanding.

Violent and destructive protests broke out in Westbury after Peterson was murdered, which led to the intervention of police minister Bheki Cele. 

The Westbury community had raised concerns about the high prevalence of drugs, gang-related violence and corrupt police officers who are allegedly bribed to turn a blind eye to criminal activity.

Cele’s intervention led to the deployment of a Tactical Response Team dedicated to the Westbury policing precinct.

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