British farmer charged with attempted murder after firing paintball gun to warn trespasser

File photo.

A British farmer who lives in Muldersdrift was arrested on charges of attempted murder after he fired shots with a paintball gun into the ground to warn a trespasser to leave his land.

The owner was driving on his premises on Friday, 6 July, when he found a man walking in at his gate and onto his property. He asked the man to leave because he was trespassing, but the man refused.

“Politely, I asked him again to leave my property or I would call the police and have him arrested for trespassing. The man exclaimed, ‘The police would never arrest me’. Again I insisted he step off my property. This man replied, ‘I’m going to stand here’, pointing to a strip of land between my borderline and the road.

I replied, ‘That’s fine by me, I’m happy with that. You can stand there all day if you wish. It’s your time’. He moved to that point,” the owner said.

Also Read: Gun-wielding suspect arrested for attempted murder

The owner got back into his car and waited for a minute or so to watch what the man was doing. He walked along Driefontein Road in the direction of a nearby lodge. The owner watched until he was about 300m away, then proceeded to his appointment.

However, when the owner looked back to the entrance of the property minutes later, the man had returned to his property and this time he had a stick with him. The owner drove back to the gate and stopped a distance from the man. The man walked up to the owner and threatened him with the stick.

“I’m going to take your farm,” the man stated while slowly proceeding towards the owner.

The owner walked around his bakkie, took out his paintball gun and showed it to the man – pointing it at the ground. The man was now only approximately four metres away from the owner.

“Close enough. I felt he would lunge at me and strike me with the stick as he was carrying it in a raised position,” the owner said. “He ignored my demand, slowly moving forward. Consciously, I moved the paintball gun to the front, still maintaining its position pointing to the ground. Approximately one metre in front of me, I released two paintballs. They made a popping sound. Then the man stopped.”

The owner then called the police.

By the time police arrived the man had long gone. The owner asked the police to take down his, and four of the eye witnesses’ statements, but the police did not do so and left.

By this time the owner had posted a short version of what happened on a local security group and one of the security company vehicles arrived on scene. They looked for the suspect and the owner later found him. They arrested him on the neighbouring plot and took him to the police station. Charges of trespassing were opened against him.

On Tuesday, 10 July, the owner was at the Muldersdrift Police Station when he was informed that the man accused of trespassing had opened a case of attempted murder against him and that he would be arrested. Police placed the owner under arrest and he was held behind bars for the night.

Both the owner and the man were set to appear in court today, 11 July for formal bail applications.

The News contact the police for comment on the matter but at the time this article was published, no feedback had been received. The News will follow up as soon as more information becomes available.

The question the public is asking now is ‘How there could be charges of attempted murder since a paintball gun is not a dangerous weapon?’

According to the The Dangerous Weapons Act 15 of 2013 and what it means to paintball/ airsoft players, “A dangerous weapon means any object, other than a firearm, capable of causing death or inflicting serious bodily harm, if it were used for an unlawful purpose”.

Charges could include possession of a dangerous weapon, contravening the Dangerous Weapons Act and even a charge as serious as pointing of a firearm – if the victim believes that the weapon is a real firearm. However, the Act states in section 3(1) that “any person who is in possession of a dangerous weapon under circumstances which may raise a reasonable suspicion that the person intends to use the dangerous weapon for an unlawful purpose, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years”.

For more information about the Dangerous Weapons Act visit https://www.saps.gov.za/resource_centre/acts/downloads/juta/2013a0015.pdf or https://sanpa.co.za/player-information/dangerous-weapons-bill-and-paintball-airsoft/

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at  [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Roodepoort Record

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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  AUTHOR
Bianca Pindral
Journalist

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