The Herald (South Africa)

Cop recalls shoot­ing of con­sta­ble

Wit­ness tells of shock at find­ing vic­tim wear­ing bul­let­proof vest

- Kathryn Kim­ber­ley kim­ber­leyk@times­me­dia.co.za Crime · Incidents · Port Elizabeth · Volkswagen · Fiesta

APOLICEMAN has told how he chased down an armed sus­pect af­ter see­ing him shoot at a man seated in his car in broad day­light – and of his shock when he re­turned to check on the driver and found that he was wear­ing a po­lice bul­let­proof vest.

The vic­tim, Con­sta­ble Devin Hat­tingh, was dead.

Yes­ter­day, Hat­tingh’s fam­ily com­forted each other in the Port El­iz­a­beth High Court as the mur­der trial started.

Hat­tingh’s sil­ver Volk­swa­gen Polo, driven to the court by his po­lice of­fi­cer wife, Blanche, was parked out­side.

A bul­let hole was still vis­i­ble in the driver’s seat, where Hat­tingh was sit­ting when he was shot just af­ter noon on July 28 2014.

Hat­tingh, 31, sta­tioned at the Mount Road uni­form branch, was off duty and per­form­ing pri­vate se­cu­rity ser­vices for a fur­ni­ture re­moval truck at the time.

Yes­ter­day, Con­sta­ble Vuyani Libi said he and two col­leagues were pa­trolling in Mother­well when they heard a gun­shot.

Libi, who was driv­ing the marked po­lice ve­hi­cle, slammed on the brakes in Nyara Street when he spot­ted a man – dressed in a grey track­suit top and black cap – shoot at the driver of a sil­ver Polo ve­hi­cle.

When the per­pe­tra­tor spot­ted Libi and his col­leagues, he shot at them and fled.

Libi said he re­turned to his ve­hi­cle and they gave chase.

Charles Nqaba, 24, was ar­rested in Mg­wa­lene Street, just me­tres away, in the al­leged get­away ve­hi­cle.

“I re­turned to the Polo and was shocked to see the vic­tim wear­ing a po­lice bul­let­proof vest,” Libi said. “He was al­ready dead.”

It emerged that Hat­tingh died from mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds, in­clud­ing one to the neck.

Nqaba and Jab­u­lani Mk­aba, 26, pleaded not guilty yes­ter­day to charges of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of a firearm and am­mu­ni­tion.

Mk­aba, a pho­tog­ra­pher, was ar­rested at a tav­ern the fol­low­ing day, af­ter be­ing linked to the al­leged get­away ve­hi­cle.

His friend, Mzu­vuk­ile Ma­pasa, had tes­ti­fied ear­lier that Mk­aba had gone to see him some time in early July 2014.

“He wanted me to rent a ve­hi­cle for him in my name,” he said.

Be­cause Ma­pasa owed him a favour, he agreed to do so.

“He de­posited money into my bank ac­count and we went to Avis at Greenacres to­gether,” Ma­pasa said in re­sponse to ques­tions by state ad­vo­cate Ja­son Thysse.

He never saw the rented white Ford Fi­esta again.

“I was in­formed of an ar­rest and that po­lice had con­fis­cated the ve­hi­cle, so I went to the po­lice sta­tion to find out more,” Ma­pasa said.

De­fence at­tor­ney Deon Eras­mus said Mk­aba would say that he needed the ve­hi­cle for a pho­tog­ra­phy job out of town.

He had asked Ma­pasa to rent the ve­hi­cle be­cause he still owed Avis money for dam­age to a ve­hi­cle he had rented pre­vi­ously.

The trial con­tin­ues to­day.

 ?? Pic­ture: KATHRYN KIM­BERLY ?? THE AC­CUSED: Charles Nqaba, left, and Jab­u­lani Mk­aba in the dock DEVIN HAT­TINGH
Pic­ture: KATHRYN KIM­BERLY THE AC­CUSED: Charles Nqaba, left, and Jab­u­lani Mk­aba in the dock DEVIN HAT­TINGH

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