Aunt tells of deadly ‘drive-by’

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The trial of a former police constable charged with murder, as well as for allowing his service pistol to be used in a crime, started yesterday with testimony from witnesses in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Walter Francis, 33, along with Enzo Kroates, 22, and Clement Kogana, 29, are charged with the October 2014 drive-by shooting and death of Denton Rademeyer, 23.

He was gunned down outside a shop in Kakora Road, Bethelsdorp.

While all three are charged with murder, Francis faces an additional charge of contravening the Firearms Act by allowing an unauthorised person to use his service pistol.

His co-accused face additional charges of the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. A fourth accused, Shane Potberg, has since died.

All three pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The state alleges that at about 8pm on the night of October 26 2014, Rademeyer was shot several times while walking back to the house of his aunt with his then eight-year-old niece.

He died later in Livingstone Hospital. Both Francis and Kogana submitted plea explanations yesterday claiming neither was near the scene when the crime took place.
Advocate Jodine Coertzen, representing Kroates, said her client would provide an alibi.

Francis was arrested on October 27 2014 on the charge of the contravention of the Firearms Act, to which the charge of murder was later added.

Rademeyer’s aunt, Alfreda Arnolds, told the court yesterday she was standing at the gate of her home when she saw her nephew and his niece leave a shop across the road.

According to Arnolds, the occupants of a white VW Golf drove past slowly and momentarily stopped before opening fire on Rademeyer. His young niece was not injured in the shooting.

A friend to whose house Rademeyer ran, Gabriel Smith, told the court that he also noticed the white VW Golf from his bedroom window. This is not the only case involving Francis. He is, along with Wayne Wabanie, 25, and Shamiel Gallant, 20, accused of the murder of state witness Alex Nico Ferreira, 28, of Bloemendal, who was shot in February last year.

Ferreira was a witness in the shooting of Rademeyer and was to testify against Francis and his co-accused.

Francis was released on R2 000 bail in that matter while all his other co-accused are in custody. The case continues.