Judge lashes out at culture of violence in northern areas
Respected Port Elizabeth High Court Judge Glenn Goosen slated gang culture and its devastating effects on communities in the northern areas as he sentenced two gang members to life in prison for murder yesterday.
“This was yet another brutal and senseless murder in the war being fought between street gangs,” the judge said.
Emotions were high as he sentenced Fat Cats gang members Dewi Walton, 27, and Trenton Ambraal, 33, both of Schauderville, with the heartbroken mother of Rushay Cross, 21 – whom they gunned down last year – sobbing uncontrollably in the packed gallery.
Beryldine Cross could not stop crying as the sentence was handed down, saying a prayer of thanks while the tears fell, and had to be assisted from the courtroom.
Other family members and friends also wept openly in joy and embraced.
Walton and Ambraal showed no emotion as they heard their fate.
The judge said the effect of prolonged gang activity had created a fertile recruiting ground of youngsters.
“Gang violence becomes the norm and the perception is created that gang members act with impunity,” Goosen said.
“The direct impact of the violence on families is devastating.”
He said the gangs were concentrated in suburbs where there were only two police stations – Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp.
These stations had to police huge precincts, with populations of 80 000 and 110 000 respectively, and thus battled to fight the scourge of gangs.
In his sentencing, Goosen relied on the testimony of gang investigation unit commander Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Grobler.