Fingerprints on getaway car at murder scene ‘interfered with’
A policeman who chased down a man and then cuffed him after he allegedly gunned down a fellow cop, came under fire in court yesterday after it emerged that his team had moved the suspected getaway vehicle and searched it without wearing gloves.
Murder accused Charles Nqaba’s lawyer, Jodene Coertzen, said the fingerprints at the crime scene had accordingly been interfered with.
Nqaba, 24, of Motherwell, and Jabulani Mkaba, 26, of Zwide, were arrested in July 2014, following the murder of Constable Devin Hattingh, 31.
The father of three was gunned down while on private security duties in Motherwell on July 28 2014.
Constable Vuyani Libe, who took the stand for the second consecutive day in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday, had been patrolling the area with two other policemen shortly after midday when they heard the gunshots.
Libe said he had seen Nqaba point a gun towards the driver’s side of Hattingh’s silver Volkswagen Polo, parked in Nyara Street.
Nqaba allegedly shot at Libe and his team before fleeing in a rented white Ford Fiesta.
Libe and Sergeant Sisanda Qokosa caught up to the Fiesta just metres away and Nqaba was arrested.
Mkaba was nabbed the next day after he was allegedly linked to the rental vehicle. Both men pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
In cross-examination yesterday, Coertzen said much of Libe’s version of events did not make sense.
She found it strange that all three police officers would chase after the perpetrator and not attend to Hattingh, who had been shot in the neck. He died on the scene. “No one remained behind to secure the crime scene or to check on [the person who had been shot],” she said.
In addition, Libe said, when chasing down the Fiesta, he had never put his sirens or police lights on. He had also never drawn his firearm.
“It all happened very quickly. We told him to pull over and he did. Sergeant Qokosa told him to stand still and he did.
“There was no need to raise our firearms,” Libe said.
To this, Coertzen responded: “You had just witnessed this person shooting and yet you just casually ask him to get out of his vehicle. Did it not occur to you that he might shoot at you again?”
Nqaba and Mkaba chatted casually to each other as Libe testified.
At times, Nqaba jotted down notes, which he then handed to Coertzen.
Asked how the Fiesta had been returned to the crime scene, Libe said Qokosa had driven it there.
On searching it, they found three black beanies in the boot.
“You interfered with fingerprints by moving the vehicle. The vehicle should have stayed where you pulled it over until the forensics team arrived,” Coertzen said.
The trial continues today.