A prosecutor has been shot dead after a shotgun being exhibited as evidence dropped onto the floor and blasted her at point blank range at a court in South Africa.
Senior advocate Addelaid Ferreira-Watt, 51, screamed in agony when she was knocked off her feet by the pellets which blew a gaping hole in her left hip on Monday.
Horrified staff in the Ixopi Regional Court in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, rushed to her aid and tried to stop the bleeding as an ambulance sped to the scene.
But mother-of-one Ms Ferreira-Watt was later pronounced dead in hospital despite the efforts of paramedics. It is thought the blast severed an artery and she bled to death.
The police are treating the incident as culpable homicide and seeking to find out why the shotgun was entered as evidence while still fully loaded.
A legal friend of the highly respected barrister said: ‘There is absolutely no need for a weapon being submitted in evidence in a court of law to still be capable of being fired.
‘The weapon and the ammunition that it had contained at the time of the alleged crime should have been submitted in separate evidence bags so someone is in big trouble.
‘Addelaid was an excellent lawyer and a devoted mother and a lover of art and animals and for her to be taken away so cruelly and in such a freakish way is just agonising.’
File photo of the Ixopi Regional Court in KwaZulu-Natal province. Mrs Ferreira-Watt was rushed from the court house by ambulance but died in hospital
Police spokesman Brigadier Jay Naicker said: ‘It is alleged on Monday at 3.20pm a 51-year-old woman was taken to hospital after she was struck by a shot to the left hip.
‘She later died in hospital. It is alleged that the weapon was brought to court to be entered as evidence in a house robbery case when it accidentally discharged in court.’
It is thought the gun was dropped or fell over and a shot went off hitting the state prosecutor in the hip.
The KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions Elaine Zungo said: ‘It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of senior state advocate Addelaid Ferreira-Watt.
‘Her untimely passing is mourned by all and our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time and the family have requested their privacy to be respected’.
The tragic victim is from the capital Pretoria and has a daughter, Lindsay, who is engaged to be married.
Her sister-in-law Antoinette Ferreira said on her Facebook page: ‘Addelaid died yesterday after being shot in court working as a state advocate. Thank you all for your prayers.
‘A loving and caring mother, a loyal and dear friend, an incredibly smart, intelligent, dynamic resilient and beautiful woman. You filled my life with love and humour.
‘We are so shocked you have been taken away in such a terrible way from your loved ones. A lot strength to you Lindsay – your mother loved you so much’ said her relative.
Source: Daily Mail UK