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‘I tried to save victim from the others’

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Vivid details have emerged in court of the last moments of the young victim

GUILTY: Naledi Kgadiete pleaded guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and robbery following the brutal killing of Kimberley resident Gershwin Swartz in July last year. Picture: Danie van der Lith

A GALESHEWE man, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after being found guilty of kidnapping, assaulting and murdering Kimberley resident Gershwin Swartz, has given vivid details of the young victim’s last moments.

Swartz, 24, was found stabbed to death in a veld in 2016 after being kidnapped.

State witness Naledi Kgadiete, 28, who continued his testimony in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday, was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment after entering into a plea agreement with the State, following his involvement in the kidnapping, assault and murder of Swartz.

Kgadiete on Friday took the witness stand in the case against the three remaining accused – Shaun Carelse, Mamogelo Mocumi and Boitumelo Matlola – who are all facing charges of kidnaping, assault and murder.

Kgadiete last week described how he, together with Carelse, Matlola and another friend, found Swartz sleeping in his blue Polo at a parking lot in the Kimberley CBD during the early hours of July 12, 2016. They kidnapped Swartz and drove off in the Polo. They later also picked up Mocumi.

Kgadiete told the Northern Cape High Court yesterday that they had run out of petrol near Elizabeth Conradie School and Carelse and Mocumi had walked to a filling station to fetch petrol, leaving him and Matlhola with Swartz in the vehicle.

While they waited, a vehicle with sirens arrived where they were parked and two police officials produced their identity cards before asking the three men why the vehicle’s doors were open and who the vehicle belonged to.

Swartz told the officials that the vehicle belonged to him, saying that they had come from Squeeza’s and had run out of petrol.

He also gave them the telephone numbers of family members, who the two officials phoned (on his phone) to confirm ownership and they also checked the number plates, licence disk and engine number to confirm that the vehicle was not stolen, before leaving.

After filling the vehicle with petrol, the four accused and Swartz drove towards the R31 (Barkly West road), with Carelse driving. They pulled off into some bushes at around 1pm.

“All five of us got out of the vehicle. We smoked some mandrax and dagga. While there, Matlola took out a “press button” knife. He lifted the knife and moved it in a stabbing motion toward the deceased. The other three (of us) intervened and stopped him.

“I grabbed the deceased’s hand and tried to save him from the other three. The two of us (the deceased and I) then went to sit under a tree. The three accused remained at the car and finished smoking the mandrax.

“I then saw a stone coming from where the three were standing and the stone hit the deceased on his head. When I stood up to see what was happening, I could see the three accused approaching. As the stone hit the deceased, he staggered back and I could see he was dizzy.”

Kgadiete said that Matlola again took out the knife and stabbed Swartz, who was lying on his back, in his upper body, although Kgadiete could not say how many times.

“When Matlola was finished (stabbing Swartz) he handed the knife to Carelse and Matlola threw a stone at the deceased. I was shocked and frightened and stood up. Carelse then also started to stab the deceased in his neck but I could not see how many times.

“Carelse then handed the knife to Mocumi. Mocumi kicked the deceased and then started to stab him but I could not see how many times, only that it was on the side and abdominal area of his body.

“Then I took the knife from Mocumi and stabbed the deceased three times in his chest,” Kgadiete testified.

Kgadiete went on to say that Carelse and Matlola found a blanket under a tree and they rolled Swartz’s body in it and dragged it under a tree.

He said that the four then left in Swartz’s Polo, not knowing if he was dead.

Kgadiete added that he, Carelse and another person later stole a laptop from a parked vehicle and sold it to a Nigerian man for R 1300, which he paid half in cash and half in tik and khat.

He said that the three of them later ended up at a guest house in New Park, where they used drugs with two female residents. This was the house where Swartz’s Polo was later discovered by police.

Kgadiete is expected to continue his testimony when the trial continues today