A state prosecutor Addelaid Ferreira-Watt,51, has been shot dead in court after a shotgun entered as evidence went off when it was dropped on the floor.
Addelaid Ferreira-Watt, 51, was blasted from point blank range in Ixopi Regional Court, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on November 18.
The mum-of-one was rushed to hospital with an injury to her hip, but died of her injuries despite the efforts of paramedics.
It is thought the pellets severed an artery, causing the barrister to bleed to death. The incident is now being treated as culpable homicide by the South African Police Service, as the shotgun should not have been entered as evidence while still fully loaded.
A friend of Ms Ferreira-Watt said: â€˜There is absolutely no need for a weapon being submitted in evidence in a court of law to still be capable of being fired. â€˜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.â€™
She added: â€˜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 agonizing.â€™
A police spokesperson said the shotgun had allegedly been entered as evidence in a house robbery case when it â€˜accidentally discharged in courtâ€™.
They said the gun was â€˜dropped or fell overâ€™ during the proceedings, causing it to fire at Ms Ferreira-Watt. Ms Ferreira-Wattâ€™s death is being treated as culpable homicide Ms Ferreira.
Wattâ€™s daughter Lindsay, who is engaged, has since shared a tribute to her mum on social media. Sharing a picture of the pair, she wrote: â€˜My dearest, my heroine, my best friend, my mentor, my pillar, my lifeâ€¦ but above all, my mummy.â€™ Antoinette Ferreira, Ms Ferreira-Wattâ€˜s sister-in-law, also thanked her friends for their prayers online.
Writing a tribute, she continued: â€˜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. â€˜We are so shocked you have been taken away in such a terrible way from your loved ones. A lot strength to you Lindsay â€“ your mother loved you so much.â€™
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