Me­chanic dies af­ter street beat­ing in broad day­light

● Fam­ily say at­tacker lay in wait for him af­ter work

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Gareth Wil­son wilsong@ti­soblack­

A Port El­iz­a­beth me­chanic has died af­ter be­ing at­tacked and beaten in the street, al­legedly by an off-duty armed re­sponse of­fi­cer, who the dead man’s fam­ily say had been ly­ing in wait for him.

Ian van der Westhuizen, 22, died in the Liv­ing­stone Hos­pi­tal on Tues­day evening.

Po­lice con­firmed that At­las se­cu­rity armed re­sponse of­fi­cer Jamey Swartz, 20, who was off duty at the time, had been ar­rested on Wed­nes­day and re­leased on R2,000 bail.

The at­tack hap­pened shortly af­ter Van der Westhuizen left work at Jetronic Ser­vices in Davies Street, Sid­well, at about 5.20pm on Tues­day, close to the in­ter­sec­tion of Davies Road and Wright Street.

Sev­eral of Van der Westhuizen’s rel­a­tives wit­nessed the at­tack as they had stopped in the street to fetch him from work. They de­clined to be named, fear­ing for their safety.

One fam­ily mem­ber claimed the at­tacker had been hid­ing nearby when he saw Van der Westhuizen leav­ing the work­shop.

“He [Van der Westhuizen] was walk­ing across the road to his sis­ter and father who were wait­ing in the car for him.

“As he was walk­ing, this guy jumped out of nowhere and ran up be­hind him.

“He grabbed him from be­hind and pulled him back­wards be­fore throw­ing him against the wall. He just carried on hit­ting and kick­ing him. He did not even have a chance to de­fend him­self.”

Van Der Westhuizen’s sis­ter rushed to as­sist.

“As [Van der Westhuisen] dropped to the ground af­ter hit­ting the wall, [the as­sailant] carried on kick­ing him. His sis­ter tried to pull him off but he pushed her off.

“She picked up a brick to throw at him but he then ran away,” the man said.

Van Der Westhuizen’s father said he had jumped out of the car to as­sist but it had all hap­pened too quickly.

“By the time I tried to stop him he was run­ning off,” he said.

“One of the peo­ple from his work saw what hap­pened and ran to as­sist.

“We put him in a car and rushed him to hos­pi­tal.

“He was un­con­scious and his eyes rolled back,” a rel­a­tive said.

Fam­ily mem­bers were then called by Van der Westhuizen’s sis­ter and told of the at­tack.

Rel­a­tives went to the po­lice sta­tion and iden­ti­fied the at­tacker, who was sub­se­quently ar­rested. A rel­a­tive said the at­tack might have stemmed from a pre­vi­ous ar­gu­ment be­tween Van der Westhuizen and the at­tacker’s girl­friend.

Po­lice spokesman Cap­tain Jo­han Rheeder said the po­lice probe was still un­der way.

“The po­lice were alerted to [Van der Westhuizen] pass­ing away in hos­pi­tal and due to the cir­cum­stances, a mur­der case was opened,” he said.

“Ac­cord­ing to our pre­lim­i­nary in­for­ma­tion, [Van der Westhuizen] was beaten and kicked dur­ing an at­tack and died as a re­sult of in­juries sus­tained in the in­ci­dent.”

At­las Se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions man­ager Monty Mont­gomery said the in­ci­dent had been re­ported to them and it was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

“As a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, we have sus­pended [Swartz] pend­ing our in­ves­ti­ga­tion and le­gal ad­vice on the is­sue,” he added.

When con­tacted for com­ment Swartz’s lawyer, John Coet­zee, said he was still con­sult­ing with his client adding that the fam­ily had been ad­vised not to com­ment at this stage.

Swartz is due to ap­pear in court again on De­cem­ber 13.

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