Query over exhibits in St Albans prison warder murder hearing

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Questions around how exhibits were handled at the Bethelsdorp police station after the brutal attack and murder of an off-duty St Albans prison warder were asked in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Friday.

Testifying on behalf of the state, Warrant Officer Thulani Twako, who was the SAP 13 clerk at the Bethelsdorp police station in 2014, conceded that certain entries made in the exhibit book or which had been signed off, had been done by a different officer.

Twako’s duties included the signing in of exhibits from the charge office and the placement of them in the police’s store safe.

Questioned about a specific entry which indicated that Twako had received an exhibit, namely a large rock, on June 18 2014 after other exhibits were entered in on June 14, Twako said it must have been an error.

“It must be in error reflected as [June 18] it is not possible if I received it before that date.

“I received it on [June 14]. I collected it from the charge office safe and placed it in the SAP 13 store shelves [on the same day],” Twako said.

He said he had received further exhibits on June 19 which he handed over to Sergeant Conrad Goosen on June 22.

Jean-Claude Uithaler, 23, Khawulelani Gqunta, 22 and Sinethemba Mfihlo, 22, all from Chatty, are standing trial for the gruesome June 14 2014 murder of Quinton David Williams of Booysen Park.

They are charged with murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

All have pleaded not guilty. It is alleged the three accused followed Williams from a tavern in Booysen Park where they had all been drinking, with the intention to rob him.

One of the accused allegedly tripped Williams before all three attacked him with various objects, including bricks, stones, knives and other sharp objects.

Williams was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money and his takkies before one of the accused allegedly stripped him of his trousers and attempted to castrate him.

Williams suffered at least 30 stab wounds in the attack and his head was bashed in.

Earlier in the trial, forensic pathologist Dr Gregory Ochabski testified that the injuries to Williams’s head were consistent with those of someone whose head had been driven over by a car.

On Friday, state advocate Garth Baartman informed the court that a doctor from Fort England Psychiatric Hospital, in Makhanda, who conducted a psychological assessment of Uithaler, was unable to attend court as he had been involved in an accident.

Judge Irma Schoeman postponed the matter to Monday.