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‘Murder accused slapped victim’

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The nineteen-year-old is facing several criminal charges linked to Wilson’s death after her body was discovered by a passer-by

APPEARED: George Hoorniet yesterday appeared in the Northern Cape High Court on a charge of murder. The case will continue today. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE TRIAL of the man accused of murdering Strydenburg resident Shannon Wilson in June last year, will continue in the Northern Cape High Court this morning.

Nineteen-year-old George Hoorniet is facing several criminal charges linked to Wilson’s death after her body was discovered by a passer-by in the early morning hours of June 4, 2017.

Her body was found near a local reservoir, covered by rocks and with only her legs visible. She was wearing sneakers and jeans that were pulled down to just above her knees.

Witness and Hoorniet’s cousin, Jan Daniels, said that on the day of the incident he had met Hoorniet and Wilson at a local tavern before the trio made their way to a mutual acquaintance, “Oom Themba”.

While testifying yesterday, Daniels said that shortly after arriving at the house, he had been instructed to return to the tavern to buy beer.

“I came back and gave the beer to George,” stated Daniels. “Shannon told George to buy a ‘platvles’ (bottle of OBS) which I then went to go and get. When I returned, they were no longer there.

“I then left and found Riaan (van Wyk) around the corner. We went to my house to smoke dagga.”

Daniels said that despite sharing a joint with the next witness, he had remained cognisant of his actions and maintained awareness of what was going on around him.

“We then heard George’s voice at Oom Andries’ place and went in that direction,” Daniels continued. “George was inside with Shannon. We went inside to keep drinking and more people arrived.”

According to Daniels, Hoorniet later allegedly struck Wilson.

“George said I must kiss Shannon and I didn’t want to,” explained Daniels. “She also refused and he ‘klapped’ (slapped) her.

“Riaan was still there at that stage but went home shortly afterwards when George’s dad (Gert) kicked over his wine.”

Daniels said that he later saw Hoorniet and Wilson walking arm-in-arm, near the local community hall, adding that Wilson appeared very drunk while Hoorniet, who had consumed a fair amount of alcohol, didn’t appear overly intoxicated.

“That was the last time I saw them,” added Daniels.

During cross-examination, the legal representative for the accused, advocate Dirk van Tonder, questioned Daniels’ version of what had happened on the night in question, saying that his client had initially escorted Wilson to go and get food.

“The accused says he arrived home from Kimberley and had gone with Shannon to the shop close to the tavern,” Van Tonder put it to the witness. “He says Shannon wanted him to buy alcohol but he didn’t want to. He wanted to wait for the following day.

“He said she wouldn’t listen to reason and went to the tavern to buy a ‘platvles’ and two-litre soetwyn (sweet wine). They then walked to a house and started drinking.”

Van Tonder added that his client maintained that they subsequently had consensual sex near the sewage dam.

“The accused said that he wanted to leave (after having sex) but she didn’t want to so he left her there.

“He says he didn’t see you at all that evening.”

Van Wyk was next to testify and told the court that he had been with Daniels when they had seen Hoor-niet in the company of Wilson on the evening of June 3, 2017.

He told the court that he had also been present when Hoorniet had struck Wilson, adding that the accused had delivered several blows to the deceased.

“George ‘klapped’ Shannon a few times,” Van Wyk said. “She was drunk and went to lie down on the bed.”

The witness further confirmed leaving the gathering after his wine had been spilt by the father of the accused, adding that he had seen the couple in each other’s company at around midnight that evening.

“Later that night, I heard the dogs barking outside and went to go look. I saw George and Shannon walking in the direction of his house. When they were out of sight, I went back to sleep.

“The women was drunk but I can’t say how drunk he was.”

According to Maria Wilson, her granddaughter, Shannon, had been living with her and left home at about 4pm on the day of her death. When Shannon didn’t return home, Maria said that she asked a number of friends about her whereabouts but nobody had seen her.

“I have never seen the accused at my house and don’t know of any relationship,” she testified yesterday. “I’m not aware of a relationship at the time of her death.”