South African murder - 'arrests soon'

SOUTH African police said last nightthey expect to arrest three men in connection with the murder of Suffolk powerboat champion Gary Toleman within days.

SOUTH African police said last nightthey expect to arrest three men in connection with the murder of Suffolk powerboat champion Gary Toleman within days.

Mr Toleman's twin brother, Michael, who lives at Bacton, near Stowmarket, last night spoke of his relief at the breakthrough, which follows months of uncertainty over the gun killing at a petrol station near Johannesburg.

Officers in South Africa are currently analysing fingerprints, which they are confident will lead to the arrest of the gang wanted in connection with the murder last October.

Gary, like his twin brother and his father, Ted, was a renowned powerboat champion before the entire family moved from Suffolk to South Africa 12 years ago to run a plantation.

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He was shot at virtually point-blank range by robbers as he bought petrol.

After months of silence from police and South African authorities and conflicting stories about his brother's death, Michael Toleman cautiously welcomed the latest news.

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Mr Toleman said: "I am ecstatic at the moment as this is very good news. It is nice to have some information to cling to and it would be great news if something happens.

"But I am apprehensive as the South African authorities do things in a different way. I am cautious but this is a breakthrough."

Father-of-three Gary Toleman, 41, who used to live in Gedding, near Bury St Edmunds, was gunned down in a garage forecourt in Hazy View - a two-hour drive from Johannesburg - as his fiancée Marlett Jordaan pleaded for his life.

His brother had earlier spoken of his frustration at the South African authorities for failing to hunt down the murderers.

But Insp Raymond Mxumalosaid: "We have the names of three suspects but we now need to see if they match fingerprints found at the petrol station.

"We are still continuing with our investigations and we are confident we will arrest the men. We can assure Mr Toleman's family we are still taking this case very seriously."

The news comes at a time when Mr Toleman had almost conceded he would never find out the truth about his brother's murder.

He explained: "Before this breakthrough, we had heard absolutely nothing. "We were just sitting and wondering what the South African police were doing - we had no feedback or phone calls.

"I was disgusted by their response and it has been very hard for the whole family. It got to the stage where I contemplated complaining to the South African Embassy or even taking legal action against the South African Government."

Mr Toleman said the whole case had been surrounded by conflicting stories including a pathologist's report claiming his brother had been shot in the chest.

In January, an inquest into his death recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Michael and his wife returned from South Africa to live in Suffolk because of rising violence in the country while Gary's ex-wife and his three children also returned and now live in Colchester.

His death was met with a wave of tributes from friends and family including Sir Richard Branson who sailed with Ted Toleman in their unsuccessful bid to become the fastest men to cross the Atlantic in 1985.

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