Blessing Bveni is currently facing 12 charges, including murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, in the Cape Town High Court.
Between October 2017 and March 2018, Bveni is alleged to have carried out five attacks on the fringes of Table Mountain National Park, focused largely on trails above Kalk Bay, which led to fears around the safety of hikers and riders right across the park’s range.
The most high-profile allegations centre around the murders of 68-year-old Ian McPherson and 57-year-old Doug Notten, which took place just over a month apart.
Despite the mounting evidence against him, TimesLIVE reports that Bveni is adopting the Jacob Zuma-like ‘deny everything approach’ to his defence:
On Tuesday Bveni denied that he tried to sell the Cat cellphone belonging to murdered cyclist Ian McPherson to Masipumelele cellphone shop owner Nkondijaze Toriro.
Tiroro testified that at about 10am on Tuesday March 13 — less than an hour after he allegedly stabbed McPherson to death in Fish Hoek — Bveni arrived at his shop asking whether he wanted to buy a Cat phone.
Toriro, owner of the I Fix It Pro cellphone shop, testified that he did not buy the cellphone because he only works with iPhones.
When the police arrived at his shop, having traced the cellphone, Toriro (or Tiroro, as both appear to be used interchangeably in the article) said that he had known Bveni for around two months, and also knew Bveni’s uncle, Darlington Nyamayaro.
Enter the Zuma-esque denials:
“Then I showed the police his number on WhatsApp and the profile picture. It was Blessing’s profile picture — the picture of the accused,” he said.
Bveni’s legal aid attorney Henk Carstens said his client denied this. “The accused says he does not know you. He said you are mistaken if you say you know him,” he said.
“Ja, according to him — but I know him,” said Toriro.
“He says he’s never spoken to you before,” continued Carstens.
“Ja, according to him — but that day I spoke to him,” insisted Toriro.
“According to him, he does not have an uncle called Darlington Nyamayaro,” said Bveni’s lawyer.
“I know Darlington Nyamayaro is his uncle,” said Toriro.
Bveni (pictured above) was also identified by his barber, Lucas Simango, who alleges that Bveni sold him McPherson’s expensive mountain bike for just R2 000, shortly after he had allegedly attempted to sell the Cat cellphone.
Earlier in the week, Allyn McPherson, who had been with Ian for 47 years, spoke about how ‘her husband was her life’ and battled tears, making sure she didn’t look to her left, where Bveni was sat.
That was followed by Fish Hoek resident Stephen Howells’ testimony, where he pointed out Bveni as the man he believes responsible for McPherson’s murder.
Below from DispatchLIVE:
Howells told the Cape Town high court on Monday that he was on his morning run on March 13 2018 when he had to stop on a narrow route flanked by a thick hedge to let a cyclist go past.
The man was riding a top-of-the-range, neon-coloured GT mountain bike. According to Howells, he was hurried and accidentally bumped his shoulder, greeting him with “Ola”.
He would later point out the person from a list of faces to police as Bveni, the Zimbabwean citizen who is now being charged on various counts of murder, assault and robbery.
Howells then described finding McPherson, who was lying on the floor with his intestines hanging out from a stab wound.
After running to Brigantine Road and flagging down a passing car to call for medical attention, Howells returned to McPherson:
“I grabbed his hand. His helmet was chocking him so I took it off. I put him onto his side so he could breathe easier, but it was just … horrific … just blood,” said Howells.
He tried to encourage McPherson [above] to hold on as he could hear the paramedics coming, but by this time McPherson’s breathing was getting increasingly laboured and his face was becoming grey.
“He held on as long as he could. When I saw the paramedics coming down the pathway, that’s when he passed on,” said Howells.
When Bveni’s attorney, Henk Carstens, started his cross-examination, he claimed that his client had never been in the area where McPherson was murdered, and that Howells was mistaken.
The response was concise:
“I think he’s talking complete rubbish,” replied Howells.
The trial continues.
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