Anger at failure to catch killer

THE twin brother of a well-known Suffolk man brutally gunned down by car-jackers in South Africa has blasted the country's authorities for failing in their hunt for the murderers.

THE twin brother of a well-known Suffolk man brutally gunned down by car-jackers in South Africa has blasted the country's authorities for failing in their hunt for the murderers.

Speaking yesterday, Michael Toleman described his increasing frustration at the lack of progress made by Nelspruit Police, and questioned whether the investigation into his brother Gary's murder even remained open.

And officers working on the enquiry into the brutal killing of the 41-year-old father-of-three, who used to live in Gedding, near Stowmarket, have also admitted they are no closer to finding the four men who dragged Gary from his pick-up truck and shot him in the mouth.

"I am getting very angry with the South African authorities," said Mr Toleman, who lives in Bacton.

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He claimed: "Although the cartridge from the gun has been found, no ballistics test has been carried out. A balaclava belonging to one of the youths has been found, but no forensic tests have taken place.

"No-one from the police has contacted me. For all I know, they may have put the file on the case into a drawer and forgotten about it.

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"I want to talk to the British Consulate to see if we can rev things up a bit but, other than that, there is not really an awful lot I can do."

Mr Toleman also said he had heard conflicting reports of the circumstances surrounding Gary's death, and claims it took ambulance crews over an hour to attend the scene of the shooting.

"We still have not really accepted that he has gone," added Mr Toleman. "It has not really sunk in.

"Christmas was difficult as we were always together as children, sharing presents, and it would help to know that the people responsible have been put under lock and key – even though it won't bring Gary back.

"But I don't even know if the police investigation has stopped or is continuing. It just seems there is an acceptance when someone dies in South Africa."

Captain Ogie Britz, of the serious crimes unit, said no arrests had been made and no leads had emerged following the incident at Hazy View – a two-hour drive from Johannesburg – on October 13 last year.

But coroner for Greater Suffolk, Dr Peter Dean, yesterday recorded a verdict of unlawful killing following an inquest into Gary's death.

The hearing was given details of the attack, which happened in front of Gary's fiancée Marlett and close to a banana plantation he helped run.

Dr Dean was told that the former powerboat champion was targeted on a petrol station forecourt, when four men stole his vehicle and shot him before dumping the car a short distance away.

However, the coroner also said reports from the South African police indicated that inquiries into the murder were continuing.

In a statement read to the inquest at Shire Hall, Bury St Edmunds, investigating detective Nicholas Aucomp told how he arrived at the garage 20 minutes after the shooting.

He said that that Mr Toleman, who had been walking to the garage shop when the attack took place, was declared dead at the scene.

A post mortem examination later confirmed that death had been due to a gunshot wound.

Mr Toleman had decided to stay in South Africa to help the new owners manage a banana plantation sold to them by his family, his twin brother Michael said in a statement.

Announcing his conclusions, Dr Dean said: "It is clear from these very tragic circumstances that there is only one verdict that can be recorded which is of unlawful killing.

"At the present time I am aware that the matter is still being dealt with in South Africa."

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