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Guest house receptionist testifies in murder trial

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The receptionist of Atlantis Guest House, Deenna Camroodien, during her testimony in the Northern Cape High Court testified that she knew Derrick Fyvers, who is one of the accused linked to the fatal shooting of Ashwinn Malan, as she was involved in a relationship with Fyvers’ brother.

Malan is the son of the owner of Atlantis Guest House in West End where Camroodien was employed.

Fyvers and his co-accused, Marlon Koopman are are facing charges of murder, the illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Malann died on September 8, 2016 after he was shot three times during what was believed to be a botched robbery at the guest house.

Camroodien testified that she was employed as a receptionist at the guest house in June 2016.

She said she dated Fyvers’ brother and it was after she sent her former-boyfriend a rude message that Fyvers made contact with her for the first time.

“I met accused 1 (Fyvers’) brother in 2015 and we were involved in a relationship. I stayed with my former boyfriend at the guest house for about three months, however I had never met any of his family members. I first spoke to accused 1 when he called me after he read a message I sent to his brother.

“I was rude in the message and accused 1 told me that I had insulted their mother. Accused 1 told me that I had to apologise to his mother as she had nothing to do with my relationship with his brother. I did call their mother and apologised,” said Camroodien.

She said she and Fyvers afterwards started chatting on WhatsApp.

“Accused 1 called me on September 1 saying he was coming to Kimberley and wished to meet me. He was in Pretoria at that stage. At that stage I was no longer involved with his brother. Accused 1 said he was going to be in Kimberley on Friday night and asked whether they could get accommodation at the guest house. I told him that there were no rooms available as the guest house was fully booked.

“On Sunday morning, Accused 1 called me again saying he was leaving for Pretoria the next day and that he unfortunately never got a chance to meet me. I told him I felt bad and if he wished to see me, he could come and have lunch with me on Sunday. He came at about 2pm and apologised saying he had to first go to cut his hair,” she said.

Camroodien said she introduced Fyvers to her daughter as well as to the mother of the deceased.

“I introduced Accused 1 as my friend to my daughter and to Stephanie Cloete. My daughter and her boyfriend, myself and Accused 1 were sitting and talking together. At some point in the afternoon, Accused 1 and my daughter’s boyfriend went to play pool at the guest house. Later that evening, after 9 or 10pm, my daughter and her boyfriend indicated that they are leaving. My daughter then suggested that they give Accused 1 a lift to the place where he stayed. They all left together and I went inside my room, locked the doors and then got ready for bed,” she said.

She said the group, however, returned after a few minutes.

“My daughter said that, as they were driving, Accused 1 told them to turn back to go and see whether the gate of the guest house was closed. When they arrived, the gate was open halfway. My daughter was not happy as I was the only one at the guest house and my other daughter, who stayed with me, had left for Lime Acres. My daughter suggested I go and sleep at her place.

“I told her that I could not leave the guest house in case guests came and I had to book them in. Accused 1 suggested that if I do not mind, he could stay over at the guest house and then I would not be alone. I then showed him to my other daughter’s room where he could sleep. We watched television together as the one in the room where he was sleeping was not working.

“I then fell asleep and was woken up by Accused 1 who told me there was someone at the door. I got up and saw that it was Ashwinn who asked for the keys to the main kitchen. He also asked for a memory stick he lent to my daughter. I gave him the keys but told him that I will call my daughter as she had left for Lime Acres.

“Ashwinn left and went to the main kitchen. Accused 1 came back inside and I then went back to bed.“

She said the next day her daughter came to fetch Fyvers from the guest house to take him to his place.

She said she saw Fyvers again on September 6 when he came to fetch his toiletry bag, and again on September 7 when he came to pick up his jacket.

“On September 7, a Wednesday, he was at my place until late. I told him that there were no taxis after 4pm going from Green Street to Colville,” said Camroodien.

She added that after failed attempts to get Fyvers a lift or a taxi back to his place, she suggested that he should again spend the night at her place.

Camroodien said Fyvers told her that he was supposed to leave for Pretoria that night, but he asked his friend that they should leave the next day, which was September 8.

She added that Fyvers left her place at around 8am the next morning and that he called her again around 6pm saying that he was in Wolmaransstad.

She said he said that he would give her a missed call when they arrived in Pretoria.

When asked whether she knew Koopman prior to the incident, she said she only saw his picture in the newspaper when someone showed it to her and also when one of her friends pointed him out when he was walking down the street.

The case continues.

Derrick Fyvers in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Marlon Koopman during an adjournent at the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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