October 28, 2015

#MURDER: UPDATE: Afrikaner son died saving dad: Stephen Coetzee (22) was shot in the head at close range

Watch out Dad! He’s going to shoot you,” shouted an eManzimtoti man who jumped in front of his father as a black gunman fired at him

Coetzee jumped in front of his dad during a home attack and was shot in the head at close range on May 11, 2012
Stephen Coetzee junior and his father

NEWS  / 27 October 2015 at 6:56pm
Durban - Twenty-two-year-old Stephen Coetzee was shot in the head at close range and died soon afterwards at Kingsway Hospital.

“I saw my son’s face contort and heard the gunshot,” Stephen Coetzee senior told the Durban High Court on Monday.

“I had one of the robbers pinned between my car door and the car itself. I left the door and tried to catch my son’s fall. I tried to keep him awake while my fiancée had jumped over our fence to get to our policeman neighbour for help. All our neighbours came through as well. The ambulance took so long to arrive that I loaded my son into the car and took him to hospital where he died,” said the devastated father.

Coetzee senior had told the court they had just bought a new car because they had been victims of a hijacking a few months earlier.

On May 11, 2012, he and his fiancée had just arrived home and were offloading the groceries when he went to the garage to help his son and his son’s friend who were working on a car.

As he walked out of the garage he was confronted by a man with a gun, who held his finger to his lip and told him to keep quiet.

From the corner of his eye, he saw two other men getting into his new car.

“I said ‘not again’ and picked up a torque wrench that was lying on the ground,” he testified. “My son told me in Afrikaans to leave it and that it wasn’t worth it.

I was going to do that when I saw two more men running towards the house. They could’ve taken the car and left. I felt they were going to harm my family who were inside so I flung the wrench at the gunman.”

The gunman apparently jumped into the boot of the car, joining the two other robbers in the car.

The driver then crashed the car into a wall as he was reversing.

Coetzee said he then went after the robbers pinning the passenger between the door and the car.

He heard his son shout, “Leave me they’re going to try to shoot my dad,” as his friend tried to hold him back.

This was when his son shouted out, warning him about the gunman who was getting out of the boot.

Nkululeko Mkhize, 23, Nhlakanipho Sikhonde, 25, and Mxolisi Zwane, 25, all black men from uMlazi, pleaded not guilty to the charges of robbery and murder on Monday.

Mkhize and Sikhonde chose to remain silent at this stage while Zwane denied his involvement or being in the vicinity of the crime, claiming he was living with his girlfriend in Johannesburg at the time.

State advocate Mahen Naidu told the court he would be arguing for a 15-year prison sentence for robbery and a life sentence for the murder should the men be convicted.

Coetzee had identified four black men at an identity parade in August 2012. “Their faces are burned into my memory. I will never forget them,” he testified.

He identified Zwane as the driver, Sikhonde as sitting in the passenger seat, and identified Mkhize as one of the robbers because of his gold teeth, saying Mkhize appeared to have been grinning at him during the robbery.

He also identified the alleged shooter, who was also arrested, but has since died while in custody.

Coetzee saw the men get away in a silver Toyota Verso after Stephen was shot.

Under cross-examination, Mkhize’s lawyer, HM Zulu, put it to Coetzee senior that it would be impossible to be able to identify his client and the others while a gun was being pointed at him.

“Because of what happened to me before (the hijacking), I made sure I had a good look at them. The advice from police is to try to get a clear look at the perpetrators so that they can be identified and that’s exactly what I tried to do,” he said.

Last Wednesday, would have been Stephen’s birthday. His father had posted a birthday wish on Facebook saying that he thought of him every day and that words could not describe how much he missed him.

The trial continues. http://beta.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/son-died-saving-dad-1936741

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