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Lawyer shot dead in freak court accident by gun tagged as evidence

Addelaid Ferreira Watt was allegedly shot and killed by a gun being used as evidence in a South African court case.
Addelaid Ferreira Watt was allegedly shot and killed by a gun being used as evidence in a South African court case. Addelaid Ferreira Watt/Facebook

A South African lawyer was shot dead in court on Monday by a weapon allegedly being presented as evidence.

Addelaid Ferreira Watt, 51, was killed after the gun on display fell and fired a round in her direction in the Ixopo regional court.

According to local reports, the weapon was purported evidence in a home robbery case, police spokesperson Brig. Jay Naicker said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

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Watt was shot in the hip and died that afternoon after being rushed to hospital, the officer explained, adding that no further information could be released during the investigative period.

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The incident is being treated by police in Umzimkhulu as a culpable homicide (illegal killing of a person either with or without an intention to kill that may not qualify as murder or manslaughter).

Elaine Zungu, director of public prosecutions in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, confirmed Watt’s death on Monday.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing on November 18 of senior state advocate Addelaid Ann Ferreira Watt of the office of the director of public prosecutions, Pietermaritzburg,” Zungu said in a statement.

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Lindsay Ann Watt, who appears to be Watt’s daughter, updated her Facebook photo the day after her mother’s death.

It’s a photo of her and Watt, along with a translated caption that reads: “My dearest person, my heroine, my best friend, my mentor, my pillar, my life… but, above all — my mommy.”

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Many supporters have shared their condolences underneath the photo, with one person writing: “Stay strong my friend. Thinking about you.”

Another person, translated from Afrikaans, wrote: “She was loved by everyone. Good luck and love.”

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One of Watt’s Facebook friends shared a photo of her in her lawyer’s robe on Tuesday, along with some touching remarks.

“You were taken too soon … You will be dearly missed, Addelaid Ferreira Watt,” he captioned the photo. “Shall miss your messages of encouragement and kind words filled with love. RIP … My condolences to all family and friends.”

Her sudden death remains under investigation.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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