A prominent lawyer has died after a gun being presented as evidence in a trial went off in a freak courtroom accident.
Addelaid Ferreira-Watt was shot in the hip in KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa after the gun was dropped and went off at point-blank range, SA People News reports.
The loaded gun was being used as evidence in a home robbery case.
Ms Ferreira-Watt, believed to be aged in her 50s, later died in hospital. She had a daughter, Lindsay, who was engaged to be married.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker told News 24 the bullet struck Ms Ferreira-Watt’s left hip and said police could not divulge any further information.
In a tweet the former major general of The Hawks – South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – Johan Booysen, said somebody would have to account for the death of the lawyer.
Whatever the circumstances. Some-one will have to account for the death of Adv Adelaide Ferreira-Watt in Umzimkhulu court yesterday.— Johan Booysen (@JBooysen3) November 19, 2019
Police confirmed to News 24 a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.
According to her LinkedIn, Ms Ferreira-Watt was a Senior State Advocate for the National Prosecuting Authority.
KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Elaine Zungu said Ms Ferreira-Watt’s death would be “mourned by all”, according to The Times.
“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," Ms Zungu said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”
A friend also posted a tribute to the lawyer on Facebook.
“You were taken too soon.....you will be dearly missed,” he wrote.
“Shall miss your messages of encouragement and kind words filled with love. RIP.....my condolences to all family and friends...”
Since the news of her death, Ms Ferreira-Watt’s most recent Facebook post has been inundated with condolence messages.
“Such terrible news to hear. [Addelaid] will miss you, [Addelaid] you were a very special woman to many friends,” a friend wrote on the Facebook post.
“Going to miss you.”
“I am totally shocked, words can't express how devastated I am,” another friend said.
“Addelaid you were an amazing woman and loved immensely I just hope they find this f***er who did it. Lindsay our thoughts are with you. Sending you lots of love.”
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