Detective who cracked Van Breda, Rohde cases held for killing colleague at a braai

Sergeant Marlon Appollis, who took the stand as the investigating officer in the Henri van Breda triple murder case in the Cape Town High Court, is now facing a charge of culpable homicide. File photo.
Sergeant Marlon Appollis, who took the stand as the investigating officer in the Henri van Breda triple murder case in the Cape Town High Court, is now facing a charge of culpable homicide. File photo.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

A top police detective who nailed high-profile killers Henry van Breda and Jason Rohde stands accused of shooting a colleague dead at the weekend.

Sgt Marlon Appollis, 41, appeared in the Franschhoek magistrate's court on Monday  to face a charge of culpable homicide in connection with the death of 40-year-old Sgt David Hoffman.

Appollis and Hoffman are attached to the anti-gang unit established by President Cyril Ramphosa last year to fight rampant gang violence on the Cape Flats.

Independent police investigative directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Sontanga Seisa said the shooting happened on Saturday night around 10.40 on a private property in Franschhoek.

“It is alleged there was a social braai at  a private premises which was attended by the deceased and the suspect,” said Seisa. “The two police officials were off duty. It is alleged that the suspect pulled out his service firearm and shot dead his colleague. The deceased is alleged to have been shot in the head. The motive is unclear and Ipid's investigation is continuing.”

A statement released by police said the 41-year-old accompanied police officers to the house after they were summoned when members of the community “descended” on the property “in a confrontational manner”.

“It is alleged the deceased member was at a premises in Skool Street when a group of community members descended in a confrontational manner and subsequently left,” said Western Cape police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa.

“When the shooting occurred, which claimed the life of Sgt David Hoffman, his colleague was with him.

In June, the office of the provincial commissioner showered Appolis and Sgt Stephen Adams with praise for their sterling investigative skills.

“The Stellenbosch detectives sergeants Adams and Appollis's thorough investigation skills ensured the conviction of four men in the murder case involving 81-year-old Marie Verwey,” provincial police spokesperson Sgt Noloyiso Rwexana said in statement.

The two detectives also helped solve the Van Breda and Rohde murder cases, which resulted in lengthy sentences. Van Breda is serving a life sentence for killing his parents and brother with an axe in their upmarket De Zalze estate home, in Stellenbosch, in January 2015. 

Rohde, a former property mogul, is appealing his 20-year sentence and conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Rohde killed his wife Susan, with whom he had three daughters, in a room at Spier wine estate, near Stellenbosch, in July 2016.


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