Tazné van Wyk murder trial: Accused ‘severely’ assaulted on way to court

A severely assaulted Moyhdian Pangkaeker, the man accused of murdering eight-year-old Tazné van Wyk in 2020, appeared in the Western Cape high court on Monday as the trial resumed. 

Pangkaeker’s blood-stained face, swollen eyes and cheekbone were partially covered by his facemask, hiding the full extent of his injuries. 

Pangkaeker faces 27 charges, including three counts of common assault, two of kidnapping, 12 of rape, one of murder, as well as charges for sexual assault, child exploitation, grooming of children, intimidation, incest and violating a corpse.

The trial started three weeks ago. But the matter was again postponed because the accused was allegedly assaulted on his way to court by two suspects appearing in separate cases.

“The accused was severely assaulted in the police van [travelling] from Pollsmoor,” Saleem Halday, for the accused, told court. 

Halday said his client requires immediate medical assistance because of injuries to his eyes and face and he might have broken ribs. 

Judge Alan Maher agreed Pangkaeker should receive urgent medical assistance. 

Halday told Mail & Guardian after the court proceedings that it is not yet clear whether his client will lay charges against the two men who assaulted him, saying his client appeared confused when he consulted him prior to court proceedings. 

Pangkaeker was assisted downstairs by his police escort when he left the dock. 

The circumstances of the assault are not yet clear. 

But the M&G was told outside court that a suspect travelling with Pangkaeker was attacked first. The suspect fell on Pangkaeker, leading to fellow inmates in the van attacking Pangkaeker. 

Colonel André Traut said the police service was aware of the altercation in the vehicle while detainees were being transported from Pollsmoor prison to the Western Cape high court. “The victim was interviewed by police and he declined to register an official complaint. He was treated for minor injuries and proceeded to make his court appearance.”

Outside court, emergency medical ambulance services were sent to assist Pangkaeker. A medical worker told the M&G that Pangkaeker did not have broken ribs but the injuries to head head would need “thorough assessment”. 

Pangkaeker will receive further medical help at Pollsmoor, where he remains in custody. 

The murder trial will resume on Wednesday, 8 June, when Pangkaeker’s former wife, Feroza Bowers, is set to continue her witness testimony.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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