Court rejects alibis of police detective’s killers

The Cape High Court on Thursday rejected the alibis of two young men who last year gunned down Woodstock police detective Inspector Lourens le Roux, who had been investigating them for another murder.

The men were both found guilty on two counts of murder each.

Le Roux had taken over an investigation — involving Ebraheem Jacobs and Gareth Leetz — into the slaying of an elderly man, in an argument over the ownership of a baseball cap.

Judge Andre le Grange, with assessors Jaco van Reenen and Russel Horn, said a witness had overheard Jacobs and Leetz lamenting to each other that Le Roux was causing them misery, and had planned his murder.

Le Grange said Jacobs’s alibi was that he had been away on honeymoon on the day Le Roux was gunned down in April last year, while Leetz’s alibi placed him at his aunt’s home that day, where he had washed cars for pocket money.

Le Grange said the case presented by prosecutor Esna Erasmus had been overwhelming. For this reason, the court rejected the alibis as false.

The judge said a police officer at the Woodstock police station, where Le Roux had been based, had seen a red BMW stop outside the station. The two occupants, Jacobs and Leetz, approach the car in which Le Roux was seated.

The officer had witnessed the two men open fire on Le Roux, and had seen Le Roux collapse and die, as he tried to get out of the car to return fire.

Another police officer, inside the building, had heard the shots and looked out of a window in time to see the BMW speed away, but managed to note its registration number.

The judge said police on patrol had chased the BMW after hearing about the incident on police radio, but the car was too fast for them. The car was later found abandoned, with the registration number changed, but the bonnet was still hot and the car was identified by a sticker on the rear window.

He said a nervous woman witness who had been intimidated had nevertheless testified that she had seen the car stop opposite her home, and the two men get out.

The case continues on March 17 for sentencing. — Sapa

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