Woman killed after leaving witness protection

Cape Town – Ocean View, a poor fishing village in Cape Town’s Deep South, has been rocked by violence and alleged intimidation by what is believed to be a syndicate controlling drugs, prostitution and illegal abalone fishing.

The syndicate even reportedly recruits hitmen to assassinate witnesses.Ocean View residents told the Cape Argus they were scared to report any crime to the police out of fear they could become the next victim.

The 2011 City of Cape Town census puts the population of Ocean View at slightly over 13 500 people.The 2015/2016 national crime statistics released earlier this year revealed an increase in violent crime. This is a direct result of a spike in gang activity, according to local police.

The local precinct has seen a 58 percent surge in murders compared to the previous year, going up from 26 cases to 41. It’s the highest it’s been in a decade.

The latest victim, Shireen “Linkie” Jacobs, 29, was found in a pool of blood in Hydra Avenue outside of Ocean View High at about 1.50am last Monday. It’s alleged members of the Junky Funky Kids shot her more than 10 times in her chest and hips. Police are investigating a case of murder, but no arrests have been made.

The mother of three had been one of the State’s key witnesses in the murder of Kim Roberts, 35, who was shot multiple times on December 5 last year at around 9pm.

A newlywed couple who had been socialising with Roberts were also killed. Leonardo and Shannon Fortune, both 31, were according to investigating officer, Craig Phillips, “at the wrong place at the wrong time”.

In a judgment handed down in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court during a bail application in April, it was revealed a State witness, who was not named at the time, could place the accused Taswell Koopman, Mario Theunis, Tyron Taylor and Carl Barendilla at the scene of the triple murder.

Phillips testified Koopman had run past Jacobs with a firearm, and tried to shoot her in the face – but the gun had jammed.

She also told Phillips that Koopman’s accomplices had removed their balaclavas to blend in with the crowd of onlookers before police arrived

This gave Jacobs the opportunity to positively identify them. She recognised them because she had grown up with them, the court had heard.

Koopman had had a previous case of attempted murder where he was accused of shooting a rival gang member in the face. The case was later withdrawn.

Phillips told the court Theunis arrived at Jacobs’s house and threatened her. He allegedly told her not to report anything to police and offered her money in exchange for her silence.

She had refused to stay in witness protection despite the danger she was in.

Phillips said the Ocean View community was so scared of some gang members, residents refused to give statements to the police.

The community did not want the four men to be released and police reported a notable reduction in gang activity while they were being held in custody.

They were denied bail.

Jacobs’s mother, a 51-year-old woman who refused to give her name even after the Cape Argus team assured her it would not be published, said her daughter had run away from witness protection after initially refusing to be placed in the programme.

“She said she did not want to be a victim anymore. She did not want to run all her life. She wanted to be free, and now she is.”

Jacobs had been in witness protection for two weeks. There had been several attempts on her life since she told police what she had seen.

But last Monday, her mother said, the hitmen didn’t miss.

“I don’t know who her killer is. If he had walked past me in the street, I would not know that he had shot my baby.”

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, Eric Ntabazalila, said prosecutors were not in a position to say how Jacobs’s death would impact on the State’s case against the four accused.

“We will only make that decision by the end of the week.”

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