Fisheries inspector tells of accidental encounter with alleged double killer
Anelle Nortier, a fisheries department law enforcement inspector, had no idea the man she handcuffed after intervening in a roadside brawl would later be accused of two murders.
The state believes that two days earlier, the screwdriver which she instructed Blessing Bveni to place on the ground was used in a near-fatal attack on Malcolm Esterhuizen in Fish Hoek.
Just over four weeks after Nortier apprehended Bveni in February 2018, he allegedly murdered cyclist Ian McPherson on the same road where Esterhuizen was attacked.
Nortier testified in the Cape Town high court on Tuesday that she and her friend, Corné Lewis, a former police officer, were driving on Mervin Road in Fish Hoek when a large rock flew past her windscreen.
“I saw two African males fighting and throwing rocks at each other. The stone almost hit the car. We immediately stopped and got out of the vehicle,” she said.
One of the men pointed at the other and told her to be careful of him. The man she was warned against, she later found out, was Bveni.
“From a law enforcement background, and my friend being an ex-police officer, our intuition was to grab the two males, make them sit down and call Neighbourhood Watch,” she said.
As she approached the men, another witness got out of his vehicle and told her to be careful because Bveni had a screwdriver in his back pocket.
She said she asked him to remove the screwdriver and place it on the ground before handcuffing him. She described the screwdriver as having a black and yellow handle.
Nortier said she took pictures of both the men, which were handed in at court as exhibits.
In what has become a pattern of denial of claims made by witnesses, Bveni said that although there was a screwdriver on the ground when the police arrived, it was not his and must have belonged to the other man involved in the altercation.
Nortier replied that he took the screwdriver out of his own pocket.
Earlier on Tuesday, Masiphumelele residents Chris Chiroba and Adam Mapondu said Bveni tried to sell them a CAT cellphone on March 13 2018.
The state alleged Bveni stole the cellphone from McPherson after he stabbed and killed him.
McPherson's son, Robert, testified last week that he bought his father the cellphone in the UK.
McPherson's wife of 47 years, Allyn, testified that she tracked the phone on her iPad to various locations in Masiphumelele after her husband was murdered and his top-of-the-range bicycle stolen.
Mapondu said Bveni wanted to sell the cellphone to him.
“I told him I didn't have any money,” he said.
“I knew Blessing as we both stayed in Masiphumelele. Around 6pm on that same day I found out the phone Blessing was trying to sell was stolen. Chris had bought the phone so I told him to return it as it had a tracker on it,” he said.
Bveni, from Zimbabwe, is also accused of murdering John Notten on January 28 2018 in Silvermine Nature Reserve after attacking him and his wife.
He has pleaded not guilty to the 12 counts against him: two murders, one attempted murder, two assaults with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, four robberies with aggravating circumstances, an attempted robbery, and two contraventions of the Immigration Act, including the use of a false passport.
The trial continues.