PE fiancé in tears over road death


GOOD TIMES: Duben van Niekerk and his finance Claire Richardson
GOOD TIMES: Duben van Niekerk and his finance Claire Richardson

Still shocked and dazed nearly a week after he allegedly ran over his popular fiancée, Duben van Niekerk broke down in tears, unable to tell his side of the story.

Speaking from his modest home in Colleen Glen, Port Elizabeth this week, Van Niekerk, 42, was shaking as he told how he was struggling to comprehend the bizarre incident which had lead to wellknown hospitality industry worker Claire Richardson’s death last Saturday.

Richardson, 41, was struck by a Honda car, allegedly driven by Van Niekerk, shortly after leaving the Dizzy Dolphin pub and eatery in Seaview at about 2am on Saturday.

The couple had been engaged since December.

Van Niekerk was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with culpable homicide. He might also face a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Approached for comment on Thursday, a visibly shaken Van Niekerk emerged from his modest dwelling shirtless, wearing a pair of camouflage-patterned shorts.

“I can’t, I can’t. I don’t want to talk about this now,” he said, before breaking down in tears.

He said he had not found legal representation for his case. “I don’t have a lawyer yet. I am still trying to sort that out.”

Despite the positive comments made about him by Colleen Glen residents in published articles, Van Niekerk complained about the “very negative” media coverage around the incident.

After breaking down in tears again, he abruptly ended the conversation and retreated into his home.

According to witnesses, Van Niekerk and Richardson were at the Dizzy Dolphin, where they allegedly had an altercation before Richardson decided to walk back to her Beachview home.

She was found dead about two kilometres from the Dizzy Dolphin, while a shocked and traumatised Van Niekerk was arrested shortly afterwards, about 20m from where her body was found.

Richardson’s tragic death sent shockwaves through the close-knit communities of Colleen Glen, Seaview, Beachview, as well as affecting many people Port Elizabeth – where she was widely known, having worked at popular venues in the city.

A large crowd of relatives, including her student daughter Jessica, friends and colleagues, braved heavy downpours to attend an emotional memorial service for Richardson, held at the Elephant Walk Restaurant on Wednesday night.

At the service speculation on the circumstances surrounding her death was rife.

Her fiancé did not attend the service.

Van Niekerk, who was granted bail at a St Albans court hearing on Monday, is expected to appear in court again on March 9.

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