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