“It was simply flames everywhere,” mentioned Constable Ryan Petersen, stationed at Wilderness, close to George.
“You could not see if there was any individual inside the automobile due to the flames,” mentioned Petersen.
“There was nothing I may have finished.”
Petersen was offering his account of occasions of the evening of December 4, 2015, that are being canvassed to ascertain whether or not there might be any prima facie proof of wrongdoing and a doable prosecution referring to Jimmy’s demise.
The Nationwide Prosecuting Authority has declined to prosecute, and AfriForum, which tried to get a non-public prosecution certificates, is hoping that the inquest will reveal extra data.
‘Thriller group of males’
Jimmy’s household, led by his sister Renisha, is satisfied that he died on account of technical failure with the automobile.
Ford Motor Firm denies this, and has put ahead different data in an effort to ascertain that Jimmy’s demise may need been brought on by one thing else that’s unrelated to the automobile’s security.
The corporate had handled an enormous recall to restore an engine downside in 2017, after studies of Kugas bursting into flames, however on this case it doesn’t consider the automobile was at fault.
It has already submitted that there have been a number of flammable objects recovered from the automobile after the blaze was doused by the George hearth brigade, equivalent to hand sanitiser, cellphone batteries, a protracted braai lighter and a cigarette lighter.
The corporate can be exploring the doable involvement of a thriller group of males who had been seen driving off, and the invention of what may very well be spent shell casings close to the scene.
Petersen mentioned that on the evening, as they stood helplessly at a distance whereas the blaze grew, a loud bang got here from the again of the automobile.
Video proven in court docket
He thought it may need been the gasoline tank as a result of a line of flames moved from the automobile to a close-by bush after the bang.
“It was extremely popular,” mentioned Petersen.
The court docket was proven a video taken by an onlooker. From a distance folks might be heard discussing if someone has a fireplace extinguisher, and speculating over whether or not it was the gasoline tank that had brought on the bang as the hearth grew in measurement.
READ: Ford Kuga inquest: Bullet cartridge, on line casino chips dismissed as airbag elements, ‘monopoly cash’
AfriForum’s advocate Gerrie Nel, representing Jimmy’s household, established from him that he solely noticed there was an individual within the automobile as soon as the hearth had been put out.
“He was unrecognisable,” mentioned Petersen in a low voice.
He mentioned he tried to gather data on the scene however lots of the folks had been inebriated and had totally different variations of occasions, so he took down their contact particulars.
Flames appeared to come back from the entrance, say witnesses
Some folks additionally advised him a automobile, which he remembered as a white Toyota Corolla, had pushed as much as the scene when the Kuga was already on hearth, after which circled.
He mentioned some folks described the occupants variously as “black” or “brown” or “colored”.
He remembered folks saying they thought they heard what appeared like gunshots, however it may even have been objects being scattered within the inside the automobile as the hearth consumed it.
He mentioned from his vantage level the hearth gave the impression to be from the entrance windshield, transferring in direction of the again of the automobile.
His colleague Lieutenant Colonel Richard Tonkin, who has been overseeing the investigation, mentioned that when he arrived the automobile was soaked from the hearth brigade’s dousing of the flames.
The scene had been cordoned off and Petersen briefed him. Strolling to the automobile, he noticed the stays of an individual, and that the automobile had been burnt from the windshield and dashboard in direction of the again of the automobile.
Automobile’s gasoline solely flammable liquid detected
Two entrance tyres had been nonetheless inflated, however the two again tyres had been burnt.
The wasn’t a seat belt over Jimmy’s physique, however the buckle was nonetheless clasped within the housing of the seat belt.
Jimmy’s physique was eliminated and the automobile was moved to Pacaltsdorp pound.
On the Tuesday after the hearth, Petersen went to the pound with an officer from the K9 unit whose canine was educated to detect flammable liquids.
The canine solely stopped on the gasoline tank which had a lacking cap on its three unleashed inspections of the automobile.
The wreckage was moved to a pound in Oudtshoorn as a consequence of area points in Pacaltsdorp, and was examined once more in March 2019 in preparation for the inquest.
This time the delegation included the investigating officer Constable Thembekile Matwa, Tonkin, representatives of Ford Motor Firm and former Scorpion Andrew Leask, for AfriForum.
‘Bullet casings’ examined
Some elements had been eliminated and despatched to laboratories in Johannesburg and Pretoria for evaluation after which returned to the police.
The outcomes of the copper casings they discovered close to the scene, which a lot of the law enforcement officials don’t assume are spent bullet casings, are nonetheless awaited.
Tonkin additionally travelled to a close-by on line casino after discovering what appeared like burnt on line casino chips within the automobile however the on line casino checked its safety data and mentioned Jimmy had not been there. The chips didn’t resemble their on line casino chips both, however had been skinny and extra like drafts chips.
Earlier, Constable Matwa had defined a few of the difficulties he had confronted in getting Ford’s investigator’s first report.
The inquest continues on Wednesday.