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Piketberg cop suspected of murdering his girlfriend given four more charges

NATASHA Booise was gunned down in Picketberg on January 2. Police officer Richard Smit has appeared in the Picketberg Magistrate’s Court on murder charges. | Supplied

NATASHA Booise was gunned down in Picketberg on January 2. Police officer Richard Smit has appeared in the Picketberg Magistrate’s Court on murder charges. | Supplied

Published Jan 14, 2022

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Cape Town - Four charges charges have been added to the charge sheet for a Piketberg police officer accused of gunning down his girlfriend in front of her family in the quiet town’s main street almost two weeks ago.

Richard Smit made his second appearance in the Piketberg Magistrate’s Court after the killing of his estranged girlfriend Natasha Booise, 32, on January 2.

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Initially there had been three charges against him, this has now been increased to seven – two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault, handling a firearm while under the influence and the discharge of a firearm in public.

Booise was gunned down after walking with her friends and family when the off-duty police officer allegedly drove down the road in his private vehicle and spotted her.

Video footage of Booise being shot has been made public. In the video, Booise is seen outside on the street while speaking to Smit, who is in his blue vehicle.

A woman approaches Booise at the side of the car, and seconds after they walk away from the car shots are fired from the vehicle. As Booise and the other woman try to flee, the bullets hit Booise, who falls down. The shooter then drives away.

The State has accused Smit of murdering Booise. In addition, he has been accused of attempted murder by shooting at Roslin Kaaiman and Erin Plaaitjies. He has also been accused of the unlawful discharge of a Vektor 9mm Parabellum Z88 pistol.

According to the State, Smit had also assaulted Kaaiman by threatening to injure her, saying “ek skiet jou vrek”, which led Kaaiman to believe that he intended, and had the means, to carry out this action.

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NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “The bail application did not take place as Smit changed his legal representative and hired Cape Town-based lawyer, William Booth.

“Booth was not present in court today and the case was postponed until Monday, January 17, for him to come on record and for a new date to be set for a formal bail application.”

An online petition seeking to keep Smit in custody has reached more than 14 000 digital signatures, while another petition has reached 3 000 signatures.

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Community leader Billy Claasen, who organised a protest against Smit last week, said: “The community is angry, we want to see that justice is being done and also that he is not granted any bail. This was a guy that people believed to safeguard them and also to be a beacon of hope, so he used his position in the community to hurt Natasha.”

Mark Lintnaar of the Piketberg CPF said: “The community is very hurt, disappointed, and the community wants justice. The relevant suspect has a history of abusing women, and they feel that enough is enough.”

Smit will remain in custody until his next court appearance.

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