Murder twist to cop’s ‘suicide’

BARBERTON – More than a year after a local policewoman supposedly committed suicide, an officer from Barberton Correctional Services was charged with her murder. Mr Eugene Scheepers (43) appeared in court in connection with the death of WO Charlotte de Beer on Tuesday.

De Beer was a well-known figure in the community, having served the police for more than a decade.
Community members were shocked when news broke that she had been shot on the morning of December 16, 2015. She was 43.  At the time, Lowvelder enquired from police spokesmen what had happened.
According to them, she had committed suicide in the driveway of her home.  They reported that she was sitting in the front of the vehicle and that a man was seated next to her. The two were apparently about to leave when she shot herself in the temple. Fifteen months later, the outcome of an inquest suggested otherwise.

De Beer’s body was subjected to a judicial inquest because she had died of unnatural causes. This was prescribed by the Inquest Act. Police were tasked with investigating her death.  A post-mortem was performed. The findings were then considered by a magistrate who had to decide whether someone should be charged with her death.

According to police spokesman, Sgt Gerald Sedibe, the cause of death was ruled as “bleeding caused by a gunshot”. The judicial report concluded that she had been killed by someone else. “The magistrate found that a prima facie murder case exists against Scheepers,” said a reliable source. This means that he had allegedly caused her death on purpose.

Scheepers’ first appearance was in December and he was released on bail.  He had not yet pleaded to the charges against him.  Sedibe did not want to explain where a second charge, obstructing the ends of justice, had originated from. He volunteered no further information.  “It is too personal and part of the merit of the case,” he said.

Lowvelder contacted Barberton Correctional Services. It was confirmed that Scheepers works there.
“He wears a brown uniform and guards prisoners with a big dog and a gun,” an employee said.
The department did not comment on whether his competency to own or operate a firearm would be revised.  Scheepers will appear in Barberton Magistrate’s Court again on April 4.
Lowvelder attempted to obtain comment from Scheepers via social media as well as telephonically. The journalist was blocked from his Facebook account and he did not return the telephone call.

Read more here: Man who raped and killed beloved vet is dead

Helene Eloff
Legal Adviser & Journalist

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