Accused says he told gang not to kill at hotel

2010-03-10 00:00

A FORMER employee of the Wartburgerhof Hotel, who is on trial for the attempted robbery and murder, with aggravating circumstances, of Ingrid and Siegfried Schadle, has admitted that he took part in the plan to rob the couple in 2007, but claims he “specifically” told his accomplices not to shoot them.

Muntukayise Ronald Ngubane (35), who is charged with Funokwakhe Mhlabeni Ncwane (42) for the crimes, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. In formal admissions handed to the court yesterday, he stated that he had been employed by the couple at the Wartburgerhof Hotel from August 2006 to January 2007.

He also admitted that he had been at the Wartburgerhof on November 5 2007, two days before the robbery and shooting of the couple, and that before that he and other accomplices had planned to rob the Schadles of their money.

It had been agreed that the robbery was to take place on November 7, 2007, he said.

Ngubane admitted that on the night in question, he and his accomplices had gone to the hotel to commit the robbery, as planned.

While firearms were pointed at his former employers, he had attempted to take money from the safe in the office.

“I stopped when I heard gunshots,” he said.

He said he went back to the reception, where he saw one of his alleged co-perpetrators, Msizeni Biyela, “shoot both the deceased”.

Ngubane said he later asked Biyela why he had shot the couple when he had specifically told his accomplices not to shoot them “because they would not offer resistance”.

He said Biyela agreed that the couple had not resisted, but said one of them (Ingrid Schadle) had been busy pushing a panic button.

A waitress at the hotel, Hlengiwe Shangase, told Judge Kate Pillay and assessors yesterday that Ngubane was dismissed from his job at the Wartburgerhof Hotel by Siegfried Schadle during January 2007 because he was suspected of stealing meat.

Before he had left, Ngubane had asked for some money he claimed was due to him, but his claim was denied.

“He [Ngubane] told the boss that they will one day meet, and then he left ... He was annoyed because he was accused of a crime that, according to him, he did not commit,” said Shangase.

Ngubane and Ncwane, both of uMlazi, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances and the attempted murder of Max Haller, the hotel chef, who was also shot at during the incident.

The state alleges that six assailants were involved: Ngubane; Ncwane; Biyela; Mbhekiseni Xulu, who has since died; and the drivers of two getaway vehicles, Mzo Mthembu and Lucky Mbonambi. Two suspects are still on the run from the police.

The case is proceeding.

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