Accused murderers of Dutch engineer accuse fingerprint expert of cheating

Dutch structural engineer Sven Tideman was shot and bled to death in his bed on Aug 25 2008 because the murderers would not let his wife call an ambulance…

August 25 2010 – PRETORIA HIGH COURT. The three black South African men charged with murdering the unarmed Dutch engineer Sven Tideman in his bed on Aug 25 2008, claimed in their defence that their fingerprints found by SAPS experts at the crime scene "could not have been theirs"… The fact that the widow Gerdy Tideman also identified them in her courageous testimony earlier in the trial, had apparently escaped their notice.

Tideman Sven Dutch engineer shot dead Pretoria Aug252008 Mr Sven Tideman, a civil engineer from Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, was shot in his bed — and then slowly bled to death for an hour because the gunmen would not let his wife Gerdy phone an ambulance. Gerdy also was beaten black and blue during the attack in their heavily-fortified Pretoria home. The Dutch widow testified at the trial earlier. Tideman was  the chief project engineer for well-known suburban landmarks such as De Brinkhof and the Leien Square in his home town of Apeldoorn before emigrating to South Africa 27 years ago.

Despite being above retirement age — the Dutch newspapers noted at the time (left) – he was still working ‘six days a week as project leader at hotel building projects.’  Article published in Apeldoorn newspaper on 4 September 2008: http://www.destentor.nl/regio/apeldoorn/apeldoorn/3655610/Moord-op-Sven-Tideman-schokt-oudcollegas.ece

Elliot Calvin Ranape, 25, Lucas Velly Sefoka, 30, and Thabo Mamagobo, 26, said they were “definitely not” at the Rietondale, Pretoria house of 66-year-old Sven Tideman and his wife Gerdy. She testified earlier in the trial exactly how her husband was gunned down in the bed next to her  while she was held at gunpoint by another armed man.

  • Yesterday Ranape testified he was at his uncle’s wedding in Limpopo on the day of the murder. He claimed police already had his fingerprints and photo in their possession due to another case he was arrested for. The uncle was thus far not produced as a witness at the trial, however. 
  • The unemployed Sefoka testified he had to look after his siblings, aged 16 and 20, on the night of the crime. "I am the type of person who stays indoors… .I sleep at home every night."  Sefoka said he knew Ranape from chance meetings at a nearby tavern, but was not one of the "home boys" who used to spend time with Ranape. He insisted his fingerprint was not at the Tideman’s house and that he knew "absolutely nothing" about the case.
  • Mamagobo claimed his arrest came as "a big surprise" to him. He said police tried to convince him to become a state witness against the other two and when he refused, charged him in connection with a case in Cullinan, for which he was presently serving a five-year jail term. He said the fingerprint expert who testified in his trial had also testified in the Cullinan case, but he had never been present at either of the scenes.He insisted the expert had "chosen him at random" and was lying about the presence of his thumb print on a window frame at the Tideman house.

The State prosecution on Monday asked for the conviction of all three accused on charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The defence claimed that there was ‘doubt about the fingerprint evidence.”Judge Sulet Potterill would deliver judgment on Friday. – Sapa http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=nw20100824183913887C411905

‘Sorry about that’ – gunman after shooting Dutch engineer – who bled to death…

PRETORIA HIGH COURT – August 19 2010 – After the black gunman  had shot dead the unarmed Dutch architectural engineer Sven Tideman, 66,  on Aug 25 2008. the shottist said “sorry about that" to Gerdy, the victim’s wife of 40 years, she told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, August 18 2010.

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Tideman Sven Dutch engineer shot dead Pretoria Aug252008 Mr Sven Tideman, a civil engineer from Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, was shot in his bed — and then slowly bled to death for an hour because the gunmen would not let his wife Gerdy phone an ambulance. Gerdy also was beaten black and blue during the attack in their heavily-fortified Pretoria home. He had been the chief project engineer for well-known Dutch suburbian landmarks such as De Brinkhof and the Leien Square in the town of Apeldoorn before emigrating to South Africa 27 years ago. Despite being above retirement age — the Dutch newspapers noted at the time in September 2008 (left) – that he was still working ‘six days a week as project leader at hotel building projects.’ http://www.destentor.nl/regio/apeldoorn/apeldoorn/3655610/Moord-op-Sven-Tideman-schokt-oudcollegas.ece

Mrs Tideman was giving evidence in the trial of three black men charged with killing her engineer husband Sven Tideman in the bedroom of their Rietondale home, in Pretoria. The couple were in bed at 02:00 when the gunmen kicked open their bedroom door.

Elliot Calvin Ranape, 25, Velly Lucas Sefoka, 30, and Thabo Mamagobo, 26, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The widow wept as she described the events at 02:00 when the couple woke up when their bedroom door was kicked open. "We saw a man standing at the door. My husband saw the man pointing a gun at him. I saw a taller man standing on my side of the bed with a gun," she told the court.”The man at the door pointed the gun at my husband, while the other one pointed a firearm at my chest.

Shot the unarmed white man in his bed:

She then heard shots. "I will never forget it. Then my husband fell back against the pillow. The man who fired the shot put on the lights. He said they came for money… laptops… jewellery," the widow testified.

"… I was frozen, lying in bed with my eyes blocked. The one next to me told me I’m not allowed to speak and I must lie quiet."The intruders emptied all the cupboards and the bedside tables, she testified. "My husband was still breathing. I tried to put my hand on him to show him I’m still okay. That was my mistake," she said.

"Then the one (the man) next to me starting hitting me. It was terrible. My husband was still alive for an hour. He was bleeding to death beside me." Tideman said she was anxious to get help as her husband was still alive.

"… The men filled up a plastic bag with things,” she testified. “They were very quick to leave. The one who shot at my husband was the last one to leave. He pointed and said he was sorry about that." She summoned help, but her husband had died by the time the police and paramedics arrived. The trial continues. – SAPA http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Sorry-about-that-killer-says-20100818 http://www.destentor.nl/regio/apeldoorn/apeldoorn/3655610/Moord-op-Sven-Tideman-schokt-oudcollegas.ece

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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