Ex Dereham student murdered in South Africa

A teenager, whose family fled to Norfolk to escape the violence in South Africa, has been murdered in Johannesburg.

Friends across the globe are now mourning the death of 19-year-old former Dereham schoolboy Cody Pereira who, according to reports, was punched to the floor and kicked in the face at a party in the Alberton area of South Africa's largest city last month. He died in hospital later after medics were unable to revive him.

His family had lived in Dereham for four years before returning to their homeland.

Cody's best friend during their time at the Neatherd High School said the Pereira family had moved to Dereham about eight years ago after a frightening incident in South Africa.

'They had an armed robbery at their home,' said 20-year-old Matthew Lynn. 'They were held at gunpoint and I think that is what made them leave. It is terrible to think that the violence has come back to haunt them.

'It is shocking. I was planning to go out and see him because we had lost contact and I thought I would go out there and find him.'

Reports in the South African press said Cody was at a friend's 21st birthday party when he was allegedly attacked and beaten by a gate-crasher.

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Mr Lynn described Cody as a 'quiet' boy who moved to Toftwood with his parents and younger brother Avelino in about 2002. They became friends at the Neatherd but Cody left at the end of year 10 when he would have been aged 15.

'He was clever and was in a lot of top classes. After school he just wanted to hang out and have fun with his friends. We played a lot of football and he supported Arsenal. He was very easy going and never went looking for trouble. He kept his head down. We lived round each others' houses because his younger brother Avelino was best friends with my brother Andy. You don't expect this to happen to someone of your own age.'

He said he thought Cody's father was offered a job in New Zealand and initially moved there but then it seems the family decided to settle back in South Africa a couple of years ago. Cody completed his studies at Durban High School.

His father Louis Pereira told the South African press that Cody was gentle and softly spoken and made friends easily. He had also just been offered a job. 'Cody had completed a plumbing course and was excited at the thought of starting to work,' he told the Tame Times in Johannesburg.

'He loved helping people wherever he could. This should never have happened to Cody. It is not fair that he should die so young.' He said he feared for the safety of his other children, Avelino and Cody's youngest brother, six-year-old Chad.

A spokesman for Neatherd High School said their thoughts were with Cody's family. 'It is very sad to hear of the untimely death of this young man,' she said.

Friends on social networking site Facebook were leaving their own tributes to Cody. One friend in Durban posted: 'Some people come and go...but the really important people leave an imprint on your mind and heart before they leave. Cody..my brother, you were that special someone who did that for me. It's been a great three years knowing you. Thanks for the love and friendship you have given me, love you always baba, my soldier to the end.'

Cody's memorial service took place at the Alberton Methodist Church on Thursday, November 25.

Gert Kroukamp, 22, from Alberton, appeared in the Alberton Magistrates Court on Tuesday, November 23, where he was charged with murder.