Pieter van der Westhuizen, brother of deceased legendary Springbok rugby player Joost, who shot and killed two armed robbers last year, will not be prosecuted for murder.
“I was informed yesterday that Wierdabrug police investigated the case and based on their report charges were dropped,” Van der Westhuizen said.
Van der Westhuizen said he would not be prosecuted because it was found that he acted in self-defence.
He related some memories of the incident on Sunday morning, 27 July last year.
“The duration of the entire shooting incident was only 11 seconds long,” he said.
A firearm was held to the pastor’s head and shots were fired, when Van der Westhuizen, a former policeman, reached for his gun. One robber managed to flee the scene.
Van der Westhuizen shared that he married the said pastor’s daughter, Antoinette, in October last year. He said he was relieved that they can now put the ordeal behind them.
Kobus Erasmus, the pastor of Querentia Ministry in Centurion, where the incident took place, and against whose head the firearm was pointed, said “God is good”.
“Just as it was an absolute miracle that no member of our church was harmed that day because the Lord protected us in the furnace, in the same manner, the Lord protected Pieter, now my son-in-law, in this furnace.
“We started praying, they started shooting,” Erasmus remembered.
He said the robbers spent two minutes in the entrance hall of the church when they entered through the closed doors of the church where the congregation was. They were in the church for 49 seconds.
“We were singing the closing praise song ‘I need His love and Care’ when suddenly the armed robbers entered the church and demanded valuables,” Erasmus said.
“The church started pleading the blood of Christ over us. One of the robbers instructed me to kneel down which I wasn’t able to do due to a hip operation I had. A loaded revolver was then held against my head when 14 shots were fired.”
Erasmus remembered that the bullets were flying, but the congregants “called on the name of the Lord”.
Ulrich Roux, Van der Westhuizen’s attorney said in accordance with the inquest procedure, an investigation was conducted by the police in order to determine whether his client acted negligently and/or without any lawful justification when he shot and killed the two robbers.
“It has been confirmed during the police investigation that our client acted in self-defence when he shot and killed the robbers and that his actions in all probability resulted in the prevention of any innocent churchgoers being hurt or killed by the armed robbers.
“The charges against our client have accordingly been withdrawn in their entirety and the docket closed off by the police. Our client is relieved that this ordeal has been brought to finality and that he can carry on with his life. He would furthermore like to thank the SAPS for their diligent work in finalising this investigation,” Roux said.
Wierdabrug police spokesperson Sergeant Pretty Nkuna said the police would issue a statement and referred Rekord to Brigadier Mathapelo Pieters, the provincial head of communications for Gauteng police.
Pieters said the police were still “finalising the matter”.
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