Axe killings: Case adjourned pending medicial examination

2011-05-31 00:00

SUSPECTED axe murderer Phindile Joseph Ntshongwana made a brief appearance in the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning, where his case was adjourned till June 23.

Ntshongwana was referred to Fort Napier psychiatric hospital for further observation and ordered to undergo tests to determine his mental state.

The six-foot former Blue Bulls flanker is accused of butchering three people with an axe and decapitating two of them in March.

In stark contrast to his first appearance, Ntshongwana, dressed comfortably in a track suit, entered the dock with no assistance and turned around to acknowledge his friends and family.

The first time he appeared in court he was physically forced out of the holding cell while clutching a ­Bible and looking scared and completely lost.

His father, Liston, attributed his son’s behaviour then to the fact that he hadn’t taken his prescribed drugs.

“My son has a history of bipolar [disorder] and schizophrenia, and he was diagnosed two years ago.

“He has been under strict observation.”

At the time Ntshongwana’s attorney, Carl van der Merwe, produced evidence that the accused is extremely mentally unstable and needs intensive medical attention.

“Mr Ntshongwana was first seen at King George V Hospital on December 23, 2006,” read a psychiatric report by Dr S.B. Maharaj.

Magistrate Anita Naidoo adjourned the case pending a medical examination and following a plea from his father.

Ntshongwana remained in a holding cell until his trial, because a bed at Fort Napier psychiatric hospital will be available only in October.

He is accused of murdering Thembelenkosini Cebekhulu of Montclair, an unknown man in Umbilo and Paulos Hlongwa in Lamontville.

He is also facing an attempted murder charge, for having allegedly assaulted Khayelani Mdluli with an axe in Lamontville, and a fifth charge of assault.

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