Farmer burnt ‘poach­ers’ bod­ies af­ter son killed them in shoot-out’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

HE WAS “be­side him­self ” when he de­cided to burn the bod­ies of the two sus­pected poach­ers his teenage son had shot on their farm, a North West game farmer has told the High Court in Pre­to­ria.

Douw de Beer, 51, and his son Dyl­lan, now 19, pleaded not guilty to mur­der­ing Mor­ris Morua, 36, and Zacharia Leso, 35, from Ramokokas­tad on their farm Deo Glo­ria, near Brits, on April 11, 2004.

In court, De Beer jnr ad­mit­ted shoot­ing the men, but said he acted in self-de­fence be­cause they were shoot­ing at him.

His fa­ther ad­mit­ted de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice by burn­ing the bod­ies.

A tear­ful De Beer tes­ti­fied yes­ter­day that his son, who was in Grade 11 at the time, went to shoot an im­pala that af­ter­noon, but re­turned home in shock.

His son said poach­ers had fired at him and he had re­turned fire. They then rushed to the scene in a bakkie.

“I could see at that stage my child was in a state of shock. He was trem­bling so much he could not hold the ri­fle,” said De Beer.

“He was sob­bing and could not re­ally talk to me. I re­alised some­thing was ter­ri­bly wrong,” he said.

At the fence di­vid­ing the De Beer land from a trust area, he found four fierce dogs and a man ly­ing dead in the fire break.

“I had a huge fright. I was ter­ri­bly up­set …

“... I felt his neck to feel for a pulse, but I im­me­di­ately re­alised the per­son was dead.

“... Dyl­lan started sob­bing again. He said dad, this is not the per­son I shot.

“I was to­tally con­fused. Here a man was ly­ing dead in front of me and Dyl­lan said he didn’t shoot him.

“I …came across an­other per­son about 30 me­tres fur­ther on. He was ly­ing on his stom­ach and was dressed in brown boots and cam­ou­flage uni­form.

“I was be­side my­self. I did not know what to do… A mil­lion things went through my mind. I de­cided I had to clean up,” he said.

De Beer fired at the dogs, gath­ered shells and other ex­hibits at the scene and loaded the bod­ies onto his bakkie.

Af­ter drop­ping his son at home, he burnt the bod­ies.

The first time he fully re­alised what had hap­pened was when his son spoke to him in the kitchen later that night.

“I re­alised my emo­tions had taken con­trol and came to the con­clu­sion that my son had been at­tacked when he went hunt­ing.

“I thanked God that my son was alive and had not been shot. I re­alised I should have phoned the po­lice be­cause all the ev­i­dence was there.

“I also re­alised it was too late. I did what I did. I was very an­gry with my­self.

“I later heard that one of the men had two chil­dren and I was truly sorry about what had hap­pened, but it had al­ready been done,” he said.

The trial was post­poned un­til April 9. – Sapa

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