A POLICE officer who first interviewed a crucial witness who could identify the alleged murderer of Nelson Mandela Bay traffic officer Neal Domingo, has told the court he feared making the smallest mistake would lead to the man being killed.
The man, who previously gave evidence surrounded by four armed bodyguards, fingered alleged gang member Gavin Minnie, 31, from Ibex Street, Helenvale, as one of the two men involved in the murder of Domingo who was shot dead in his official vehicle in what the state alleges was a fatal armed robbery.
Minnie, an alleged member of the Dust Lives gang, has pleaded not guilty to armed robbery, murder and the illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, saying that he had an alibi for the night that Domingo was killed.
The state however alleges he and another man robbed Domingo of his official firearm and shot him. Domingo was last seen alive when he left his daughter Elaine Seafield’s house in Gelvandale to get into his vehicle.
The witness saw Minnie and another man running away from this vehicle.
He told the court Minnie swore at him and he later received several warnings to remain quiet. He was eventually convinced to speak to the police.
Warrant Officer Brett Andrews yesterday told the Port Elizabeth High Court that even though he was not on the investigations team one of his best friends, Mark Bentley, told him that there was a witness who could identify Domingo’s killer.
Andrews said that after he heard what Bentley had to say he wanted to meet with the witness himself. When he met up with the witness a few days later, the witness confirmed that he had seen the alleged murderer but was too scared to testify.
"He said that he had already been threatened.”
"I told him that we can protect him,” Andrews said.
"I knew that this [getting the witness into witness protection] was extremely urgent ... His life was in my hands. I could see the fear in his eyes.”
He said he then organised for the investigating officer to meet with the witness at the Malabar cemetery.