Booth hitman got high, fell in a hole, went to wrong address, court hears as gangsters are sentenced

26 April 2021 - 17:14 By aron hyman
Criminal lawyer William Booth outside the Wynberg magistrate's court. Five shots fired at him by a hitman all missed.
Criminal lawyer William Booth outside the Wynberg magistrate's court. Five shots fired at him by a hitman all missed.
Image: Sipokazi Fokazi

The gang boss and hitmen who tried to kill Cape Town criminal lawyer William Booth pleaded guilty on Friday, saying the order for the hit came from an imprisoned gang boss.

But the Cape Town regional court heard how the planned hit was foiled by the incompetence of the men who were commissioned to carry it out.

Kauthar Brown, whose house in Woodstock, a suburb adjacent to the Cape Town central business district, served as the headquarters for the Terrible West Siders gang facilitated the hit which was ordered by the Terrible West Siders’ imprisoned leader.

After the unnamed imprisoned gang leader gave the order for the hit, Brown planned it with Ebrahim Deare and Riyaad Gesant, two gang members.

Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said it was agreed that Deare was going to be the hitman and Brown had to provide a getaway car to a state witness in the case who was instructed to drop off Deare and Gesant close to Booth’s Higgovale residence. Brown provided them with the location.

The state witness would then pick up the duo and take them back to Woodstock after the hit’s completion.

On April 6 last year, while SA was still under a Covid-19 hard lockdown and with police and army roadblocks stationed at all the main roadways into Cape Town, the group went ahead with their plan.

Ntabazalila said Deare and Gesant were dropped off close to Booth’s house, where they inspected the location to obtain more information about how to execute the hit — but they went to the wrong address and the mission was aborted.

“They went back to the vicinity of the house again on April 7. On the day, Deare smoked Mandrax, got high and he fell into a hole, injuring his leg,” said Ntabazalila. “The hitman had to be taken to Groote Schuur Hospital for treatment and this thwarted their plans.”

The duo went back the next day, April 8, but nothing happened.

“That evening, the imprisoned gang leader contacted the two and was impatient with them because they were taking too long to execute the plan. They were instructed that the hit must happen the next morning,” said Ntabazalila.

Gesant then instructed the state witness to take them directly to Booth’s house.

“As they drove past, Gesant pointed out the house to the state witness and the state witness dropped the two off further up the road,” said Ntabazalila.

“They saw Booth as he entered his garage with his dogs. Deare had a fully loaded revolver. He ran towards Booth and fired five shots with the intention to kill him while he was inside his garage.”

On April 10 the state witness, Deare and Gesant went to Brown’s house and she paid them for the unsuccessful hit.

As part of the plea and sentencing agreement, Brown received a five-year prison sentence for wilfully aiding and abetting the activities of a gang, and five years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder.

However, both sentences were wholly suspended for five years on condition that she is not convicted for similar crimes committed during the period of suspension.

According to Ntabazalila, she received another three years of correctional supervision for the charge of attempted murder, a sentence which includes house arrest and 960 hours of community service.

Deare was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for wilfully aiding and abetting the activities of a criminal gang and five years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder.

“He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for attempted murder with five years suspended for five years on condition he is not convicted for attempted murder committed during the period of suspension,” said Ntabazalila.

“He was further sentenced to six years for illegal possession of a firearm and three years for illegal possession of ammunition.”

According to Ntabazalila, the court ordered that all the other sentences imposed run concurrently with the sentence imposed for the attempted murder. His effective sentence is thus 10 years' imprisonment.

Gesant was also sentenced to five years' imprisonment for wilfully aiding and abetting the activities of a criminal gang, five years' imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder, and eight years for attempted murder, with three years suspended on condition that he is not convicted of attempted murder during the period of suspension.

“The court ordered that sentences imposed for wilfully aiding and abetting the activities of a criminal gang and conspiracy to commit murder must run concurrently with the effective five-year sentence imposed for attempted murder,” said Ntabazalila.

Welcoming the sentence, advocate Nathan Adriaanse said gang activities thrive in the Western Cape and have become a social pandemic.

“The attempt on Mr Booth’s life was premeditated and well planned. The instruction came from a leader of the TWS gang and was aimed at a prominent member of the legal fraternity,” Adriaanse was quoted as saying.

Western Cape police welcomed the sentencing and commended detectives and prosecutors for the “meticulous work that resulted in the conviction and subsequent sentencing”.

“Western Cape acting provincial commissioner Maj-Gen Thembisile Patekile said the sentencing will go a long way in restoring trust in the criminal justice system. He applauded  investigating officer Col Eddie Clark for a thorough investigation,” said provincial police spokesperson Sgt Noloyiso Rwexana.

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