⁠’The pain doesn’t go away’ — slain teen’s mom Bridgett Harris

“The pain never went away. The pain keeps surfacing whenever I visit my son’s grave and honour court dates. Four years later, and I still feel a big void. This pain is unbearable and feels like my heart has been ripped from my chest and never replaced.”

These were the words of Bridget Harris, the mother of Nathaniel Julies, an Eldorado Park teenager who was allegedly gunned down by police on August 26, 2020. 

Justice delayed for her son

“So far, I have lost my father and my brother. Justice for my son, [Nathaniel Julies] is still not served. I cannot help but question how many more must die without seeing justice served for our child. Nathaniel left behind seven siblings. It is evident that my other children are badly affected by his brutal death,” Harris said.

Harris described Julies as an innocent, warm and loving soul who would not hurt anyone. He was a boy who loved to worship and praise God. He was a child of the community. Everyone who came into contact with him loved him.

She told Sunday World that as winter approaches, so does Nathaniel’s birthday.

Harris said: “He was born in June 29, 2006. We would have celebrated 20 years of his life this year. He was an entertainer. Every celebration of his life was a big deal to me. My son was my pride and joy.”

Harris pleaded on her knees that the state should not fail her and her family with justice.

“This could have been anyone’s child. But it was my child,” Harris sobbed.

Accused showed no remorse

She detailed her emotion when she sat in the gallery at arm’s length from two of the accused. One of the three accused, Caylene Whiteboy, gave her testimony in the dock in March.

 Harris said: “I was very broken. I had to contain my anger. I wanted to walk up to her [Caylene Whiteboy] and asked her why would she twist the story in this manner. I remember her asking for my forgiveness in the early stages of this. If I knew then what I know now, I would have never forgiven her. She [Caylene Whiteboy] sat in the box with evidence of my son’s lifeless body and smiled while testifying.”

Harris shared that the support from the united community of Eldorado Park has gone quiet over the years. She stated that the case has dragged on for so long that people even forgot about the brutal death of her son.

She said: “I am all alone. Pastor Stanley Botha has been supporting me from the beginning until now. I am grateful for him.”

Still dealing with the pain

Harris said the entire family is wounded by the death of her son. To date, she cannot understand why justice has not been served.

She shared a painful memory of the last time she saw her son. 

“This is something that nobody should get away with. My son was murdered like a animal. He was not a animal — I gave birth to this human being,” Harris added.

Sixteen-year-old Nathaniel Julies, who had Down’s syndrome, was shot and killed in August 2020.

The ex-officers are on trial for his murder.

Victim had mental, developmental problems

The officers are charged with the shooting death of Julies in August 2020, just metres from his home. They alleged that they shot him because he refused to obey their orders.

However, it later emerged that the teenager had mental and developmental problems. These were associated with the fact that he had Down’s Syndrome.

The three officers have since been fired from their jobs.

Caylene Whiteboy and Simon Ndyalvane were dismissed from the Eldorado Park police station. Accused number three in the matter, former detective sergeant Voster Netshiongolo, resigned shortly after the incident.

Judge approved the 13-day period for the case

During the last sitting in March, Judge Cassim Moosa approved 13 days that both the counsel and defence agreed upon.

The matter was agreed with conditions by state prosecutor Johan Badenhorst.

Badenhorst said: “The specific dates are agreed upon for 9.30am. The court will assist us if we are on time. This matter has been coming on for years.”

The next court appearance will be for three days from April 17 until April 19. Then it will continue on April 24 and 25.

Decisions to be made after May 29

The matter will then move into May and sit on May 2 and 3, May 20 and 21, May 23 and 24. Furthermore, decisions will be made after May 28 and 29.

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