Wales

North Cornelly family's five-year wait for South Africa murder trial

Jeremy Brooke Image copyright Alamy
Image caption 'We miss Jeremy terribly' say his family

The family of a British man shot dead in South Africa more than five years ago says a conviction would bring them peace of mind at last.

Jeremy Brooke, 32, was killed during an armed robbery while on a scuba-diving trip with friends in February 2014.

Four men will go on trial for murder in South Africa on Monday.

Mr Brooke's mother, Marian Brooke-Morris, from North Cornelly, Bridgend, said repeated delays to the case have left her with post-traumatic stress.

"We've had so many false starts, it's been an ongoing nightmare and a terrible strain," said Mrs Brooke-Morris, who is undergoing counselling.

"Each time the trial is delayed, it's like being slapped in the face yet again.

"We're pinning all our hopes on this next trial date and hoping we can finally get justice for Jeremy."

Mr Brooke was shot twice during the robbery at the remote coastal area of Transkei, on the Eastern Cape, by intruders who broke in late at night.

Image caption The cottage near Elliotdale where Jeremy Brooke was shot

He died on the two-hour journey to hospital.

The robbers escaped with cash, mobile phones and a vehicle.

Soon after police made arrests and the accused were taken into custody.

The case has been adjourned time after time for a variety of reasons, including illness among the defendants or their lawyers, refurbishment of court buildings, missing documentation, a general election and problems getting defendants to court.

Two of the accused escaped from custody while being transported to court for another matter.

One was later recaptured, but the other died in a gangland shooting while on the run.

The prisoner who died was said to have pulled the trigger on Jeremy.

One hurdle was claims the defendants had been coerced into a confession, but that has now been dismissed by judges, paving the way for the full trial.

Image copyright Marian Brooke-Morris
Image caption Mr Brooke was on a diving trip with friends when he was killed

A victim impact statement to the court on behalf of the family pleads: "We can only beg that the South African justice system proves to the world that it values life enough to ensure this case is brought to a close."

"We just want it over with so that we can begin to move on with our lives," added Mr Brooke's mother.

"We miss Jeremy terribly and nothing can bring him back, but this would give us some measure of peace at last and enable us to move forward with his legacy to the community."

Mrs Brooke-Morris and her daughter have set up a legacy project in Jeremy's name, with the intention of helping disadvantaged children learn about ecology and nature, and are fundraising for Victim Support.

Mr Brooke was born in South Africa but had dual British and South African nationality, as his parents were both British-born.

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