The Herald (South Africa)
Woman tells how she tried to help dying young friend
A young woman has described in court how she promised her bleeding, dying friend she would get her help after the innocent teenager was shot during a heated exchange in an Algoa Park pub.
She was giving evidence at the trial of Carl Nasson, 26, of Algoa Park, who is charged with murdering Victoria “Vicky” le Roux, 16, in September 2014.
CCTV video footage captured at the tavern on the day Le Roux was shot dead was also brought into dispute in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court on Thursday when Nasson’s defence questioned the video’s authenticity.
The footage is alleged to show how Nasson fired a shot through a closed steel roller door which killed Le Roux, who was at the Cradock Sports Bar with friends.
Earlier in the day, an emotional Chane Swanepoel told the court how her best friend from primary school had been shot while they were standing innocently in the pub with friends and family who had gone there to buy alcohol. They were both 16 at the time.
Nasson was arrested shortly after the shooting and has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. He has since changed his legal counsel at least four times.
Swanepoel detailed how her group, which included Le Roux and Swanepoel’s aunt, uncle, cousin and four others, made their way to the nearby tavern from her cousin’s house.
Recalling the tragic events, Swanepoel could not contain her emotions and openly cried in the witness box.
She told the court that while waiting at a table she had noticed two men enter the establishment and go to the bar. A short while later, the men walked out the door leading to the road.
Swanepoel claimed that at that stage her cousin, only identified as Morne, followed the two men outside and when he arrived back at the table he was clearly angry.
“Morne ... was red in his face. I asked him what happened and he said ‘nothing’.
“When I looked back, I saw one of the guys walk back in. He was shouting something towards our table.
“[He] and Morne exchanged words and then he walked out again. When he came back, he was scratching at something at his back.
“He took something from his back and pointed it at our group sitting at the table.
“I saw him point a gun at Morne,” Swanepoel said, fighting back tears.
After a heated exchange of words, the alleged gunman walked outside again.
Swanepoel said Le Roux had become very anxious and she had tried to keep her calm.
She said she had seen her aunt go outside and went to the door to investigate. But as she went back inside, she heard a gunshot go off.
“I looked back and saw [Le Roux] had fallen. I fell down next to her and called out to her. I thought she was joking.
“I said ‘Vicky’ and turned her head and I just saw blood – the blood was flowing and her eyes were very wide open.
“I took her hand and she had tears in her eyes. I told her ‘Vicky, I will go get help’.
“I started to scream and shout. My aunt came and said I must rather stand aside.
“The third time I asked if she was OK my aunt said ‘no, she didn’t make it’,” Swanepoel said, before breaking down again.
Swanepoel’s aunt died two years ago.
Asked by prosecutor Hennie van Heerden if she recognised Nasson, Swanepoel said she remembered seeing him at the tavern on the day of the shooting but could not elaborate further.
The owner of the tavern, Johannes “Babs” Brown, said he had been in is home, which is on the same property, when he heard the commotion outside.
According to Brown, when he looked outside he saw two men hurry to a maroon VW Golf, climb in and speed off.
Brown said when he went to the tavern he saw the body of Le Roux and immediately called 10111 while activating his security panic button.
When police arrived, Brown viewed the now disputed CCTV footage and identified Nasson as the shooter.
“I don’t know [Nasson] personally but heard about him as a problem person [in the area]. I only knew him from sight and from his name.
“He had come [to the tavern] on a few occasions to buy alcohol,” Brown said.
Nasson’s legal representative, Wayne McGear, objected to the state showing the footage in court or using it as evidence on the basis that his client disputed its authenticity.
The court ruled that a trial within a trial be instituted to establish the authenticity of the footage. Nasson will remain in custody.
The case continues.
‘I said ‘Vicky’ and turned her head and I just saw blood ... and her eyes were very wide open’ Chane Swanepoel