South African game farmer faces murder rap over killer lion

By Cathy Thompson

NORTH WEST PROVINCE – A Zeerust game farm owner has appeared in the local magistrate’s court on a murder charge after one of his lions attacked and killed a worker on his property in August last year.

Hugo Ras, 33, was warned to appear in court again on December 1, when it is believed he will be informed of a High Court date for his trial. He was released on his own recognisances.

At the time of the incident last year, Ras told The Citizen he felt “terrible” about what had happened to Piet Malgas, 42, a contract worker at a dam site.

“He was a good worker, but it was an accident. These things happen in the wild sometimes.” Ras said he was also upset by abusive phone calls he had received.

Malgas had hung a piece of meat in a tree and was walking to fetch his lunch when two adult male lions appeared, apparently attracted by the meat.

One of them swiped Mr Malgas across the head and neck with a paw. Ras said he believed the animal broke Malgas’s neck.

The other workers on the scene managed to scare the lions off with the heavy machinery that was on the scene and Ras’s wife, Magda, rushed him to the Zeerust Hospital. He was certified dead on arrival. At the time, Ras was running a hunting farm where the animals roamed freely.

cathyt@citizen.co.za

Last updated 19/10/2006 15:31:17

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