Car guard did not die from assault - defence

Lukas van der Merwe in court yesterday.
Lukas van der Merwe in court yesterday.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The man accused of killing car guard Vusi Mgiqwa has admitted to assaulting him and walking away as he thought "the matter was resolved".

Lukas van der Merwe, 39, yesterday detailed his version of what happened on October 26, the night he assaulted Mgiqwa - a car guard at Selcourt, in Springs. In his affidavit submitted in the Springs magistrate's court for bail application yesterday, Van der Merwe said he arrived at Selcourt on the day in question to buy Chinese takeaways.

His lawyer Pieter Wilkins in his application for bail, argued that Mgiqwa was not killed by the assault.

"The most probable cause of death was not the assault but when the deceased fell backwards and knocked his head," he said.

Van der Merwe's wife, Elizabeth, and his 13-year-old daughter were with him. "As I came out of the Chinese takeaway shop, I noticed that two vehicles [had] collided with one another at the parking area. I confirm that I told the deceased that he had to exercise better control over the vehicles.

"The deceased became annoyed with my remarks and commenced swearing at me and my family.

"I admit that I handed the takeaways, which I still had in my hands at this point in time, to my daughter and approached the deceased as he was swearing at me. I confirm that I assaulted the deceased by punching him in the face. As soon as the deceased fell down, I ordered my family to go to the car as I thought that the issue had been resolved. I also got into the vehicle and left the scene."

Mgiqwa, 25, fell on his head after the assault and later died in hospital. But an eyewitness who had come to buy food at Selcourt told Sowetan that a motorist [Van der Merwe] punched Mgiqwa unprovoked. Van der Merwe runs his own business as a mechanic and told the court he intended pleading not guilty to murder.

His lawyer earlier applied for the defence to access medical records from the hospital which admitted Mgiqwa on the night of the assault.

The state opposed the move, arguing that the documents are part of the docket which the defence had no right to access at this stage.

Magistrate Carla Verster granted the defence the right to access the hospital records and the case was postponed to November 28.

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