Man Blunden shot wants R4m in damages

Businessman Shawn Blunden faces a R4m civil claim following a shooting at the family’s Walmer Heights home
FIGHT CONTINUES: Businessman Shawn Blunden faces a R4m civil claim following a shooting at the family’s Walmer Heights home

He may have escaped a criminal conviction for attempted murder, but Port Elizabeth businessman Shawn Blunden’s legal woes are not yet over, with his former brother-in-law seeking a R4m payout as a result of the shooting.

Deon Williams, 56, sustained serious injuries when he was shot in the abdomen more than five years ago in the midst of a family feud over an inheritance.

Though Blunden says the shooting was accidental as a result of a struggle which ensued between the two men, Williams at all times maintained that Blunden, 56, had tried to kill him.

Despite the then co-owner of Blunden Coach Tours being acquitted of the charges in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court earlier this month, Williams hopes the high court will find in his favour and award him  a damages payout of more than R3.9m.

Williams, who was married to Blunden’s sister, Cheryl, continues to complain of abdominal discomfort and is seeking:

  • R244,000 for past medical expenses;
  • R20,000 for psychological counselling as a result of the trauma he suffered;
  • R30,000 for specialist urological treatment;
  • R800,000 in general damages; and
  • R2.9m for past and future loss of earnings.

He said he would likely have to retire early as a result of his now poor health. He also claimed to suffer from anxiety, depression and flashbacks to the incident.

He was also no longer able to play hockey, golf or soccer, something he had avidly enjoyed.

But while Blunden has conceded to bringing the pistol to the home on the day of the incident, he denies that the shooting was intentional — and a ballistic expert agreed.  .

In a statement before the Port Elizabeth High Court, ballistics expert Jacobus Steyl said the shooting had occurred in the kitchen area of the family’s Walmer Heights home.

It was Williams’ version that one shot had gone off accidentally, but that Blunden had then deliberately fired a further two shots at him.

One bullet penetrated the built-in cupboard, while another was discovered lodged in the toaster on the opposite side of the kitchen.

Williams was also shot in the abdomen and had to undergo emergency treatment.

“My scope of service was to visit the scene,” Steyl said, adding that he found the bullet wound track to be from left to right and slightly upwards.

“Ballistically this indicates that the left side of the complainant [Williams] was facing the firearm, with the firearm the same height or lower when fired.”

The bullet likely penetrated the toaster after perforating the complainant, Steyl found.

“To have two trajectories in opposite directions, there would have to have been substantial movement of the pistol from one direction to the other.

“The two opposing bullet trajectories and the fact that the trajectory through Williams’ body appears to be upward or level  indicates that a struggle scenario where both parties were moving is highly likely.”

Advocate Albert Beyleveld SC, for Blunden, and advocate Dean Niekerk, for Williams, must still present heads of argument to the high court.