Unconscious with a pool of blood in her lap – witness

Reporter: Jade Witten

A lawyer has described to the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court the crash scene near UCT in which a woman died after a rock had smashed through her windscreen and struck her in the face, allegedly causing her death. Attorney Rafi Weiner told the court yesterday of hos, on August 23, 2008, he had found Lauren Devine in her car, unconscious and with a pool of blood in her lap. Weiner said that, as he was travelling on the M3 from Cape Town towards Constantia, he noticed debris on the road. He said he saw that a silver car – later established by police as the Ford Fiesta that belonged to Johan Crous – had crashed in to the barrier dividing the M3′s incoming and outgoing lanes. A rock dislodged from the barrier when Crous’s car crashed into it, had allegedly smashed into the windscreen of Devine’s Renault Clio, striking her in the face. Crous faces a charge of culpable homicide, alternatively reckless and negligent driving, in respect of the crash. Weiner said the guardrail on the M3 had been “severely damaged”. “I thought, thank God that rail was there.” Weiner also saw Crous and a woman sitting outside his car. They appeared unharmed. About 60 metres farther, Weiner saw a friend’s car parked on the side of the road, behind Devine’s car, and decided to stop. He said Devine’s car had been hit by “some object” because both the front windwcreen and the back window were smashed. “Inside the car I saw a young woman who was wearing her seatbelt. She was unconscious, breathing heavily, she was alive. She suffered severe trauma to the head and no other injuries. A pool of blood gathered in her lap… shattered glass was inside the car… my initial reaction was to call emergency services,” he said. Weiner said a doctor and dentist stopped, but could do nothing for Devine. “(About 20 minutes later) emergency services tried desperately to keep her alive. It was most traumatic and despite all their efforts, they couldn’t save her (and) she died at the scene,” he testified. Cross-examination is expected on May 17.

Najwa in court for fraud

Reporter: Vania van der Heever (Die Burger)

Cape Town – Twelve heavily-armed prison guards and police officials filled the court gallery on Wednesday when Najwa Petersen appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court. Petersen, who is serving a 28-year jail sentence at the Worcester prison for the murder of her husband, artist Taliep Petersen, is now facing charges of fraud. Her eldest son, Achmat Gamaldien, was in court to support her on Wednesday. Her court appearance was related to an insurance claim of R67000 that she made after Taliep’s death with the insurance company South African Eagle (also known as Zurich SA).

Insurance payout

She allegedly claimed for cellphones, digital cameras, jewellery, watches and money that were stolen during the murder. According to the charge sheet, petersen received R35000 from the insurance company. Magistrate Heather Paulse asked the State prosecutor why there were so many heavily armed officials in her court. “Lieutenant colonel Joe Dryden heard rumours,” answere Charlean Oliver for the State. She did not elaborate. Olivier said the fraud case had been referred to the national prosecuting authority (NPA), which had decided to prosecute Petersen. Reaz Khan, who was appearing for Petersen, said the defence was waiting for more information but was ready for a trial date. The case was postponed to August 25.