Fochville murder case remains on court roll


Four of the five defendants in the murder case of Natasha Wheeler Barnard (33)’s representations that the case against them should be withdrawn were once again unsuccessful.

Magistrate Fatima Khan said on Thursday in the Magistrate’s Court in Fochville, Gauteng, that the case will not be removed from the court roll until a final decision on the prosecution of the accused is made.

The legal representatives of Maryna Doyle (37), her boyfriend, Sidney Scheepers (41), Twane Wienand (31) and Dave Lourens (45) turned to the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in Gauteng with their representations in April.

A ruling on this was to be delivered on Thursday, but the DPP informed the court that a decision on this will not be ready until two weeks from now.

The defendants first submitted representations to the court on March 17, which were unsuccessful.

The representations contain a summary of the accused’s version of events. However, the court did not disclose its contents.

The accused Rudolf Pretorius (23) did not make representations.

According to the legal representatives of the accused who made representations, the state is wasting its time by postponing the case. The state responded by saying that it was the defense that had asked for an adjournment to submit its representations the last two times. The state has also indicated that it is ready to begin the trial.

The accused are expected to appear in court again on August 14.

Barnard was allegedly assaulted on 3 March 2022 in the Boulevard restaurant and bar in Fochville and dropped off at her mother’s house, Frieda Venter, early the next morning. Paramedics later pronounced her dead there. She had injuries that indicated she had been assaulted.

The investigating officer, ao. Kitty Fourie, earlier testified that Barnard suffered trauma injuries to her head, neck and spine.

In video footage of the incident, it can apparently be seen that a confrontation arose between Pretorius (the bar manager) and Barnard.

Fourie testified that the video footage clearly shows that Barnard then walked to the door, after which Pretorius threw a chair and pillow at her from behind. She turned back to go back in, but Doyle and Wienand apparently moved towards the door and blocked Barnard and pushed him outside.

According to Fourie’s testimony, Pretorius went to the office where he switched off the video cameras. He then went back to the area where the stampede with Barnard was going on. The cameras were apparently turned back on after about 11 minutes. Barnard was lying on the ground in the car park at that stage.

The video footage is expected to serve as key evidence in the case.

Doyle, Scheepers, Wienand and Lourens were released last year on bail of R5 000 each, while Pretorius’s bail was set at R10 000.

Charges against a sixth suspect, Cecilia Storbeck (23), were dropped in December last year. Storbeck may now testify for the state.