Court told of cop’s death in escape bid

2009-09-23 00:00

A MAN serving a life sentence for the murder of a Pietermaritzburg policeman, Sergeant Sibusiso Bhengu, who was killed when two prisoners escaped from the Loop Street police cells in 2000, gave evidence from his wheelchair in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

He was testifying at the trial of the man who allegedly pulled the trigger.

Linda Dlamini, who was sentenced for the role he played in the murder last year, was injured and had his leg amputated during another attempt to escape from jail.

He gave evidence yesterday against Sunny Mgwaba (36) of Imbali, and identified him as the gunman who had shot and killed Bhengu when the two of them escaped from the Loop Street cells on February 20, 2000.

Dlamini told Judge Nic van der Reyden and his assessors that he and Mgwaba had been arrested on a charge of theft of a motor vehicle and planned to escape.

They decided that they would need a firearm to do so, and enlisted the aid of a friend — “Bongani” — to obtain a gun for them.

Bongani agreed and on the day in question visited them and brought them the firearm.

He handed over two plastic containers, one of which was full of fruit and the other contained bread into which a firearm had been inserted.

Bhengu asked to inspect the containers before they returned to the cells. “After he opened my container, which had fruit, he realised that there was nothing dangerous and he said I could go,” said Dlamini.

In the meantime, he added, Mgwaba managed to get the gun out of the bread and pointed it at the policeman and demanded the keys to the door. The policeman refused to hand over the keys and tried to throw them out of a window. A scuffle ensued and Mgwaba fired a shot causing the policeman to “lose his strength”.

Dlamini said they fled out of the police station on to the road outside. A policeman who chased them fired in their direction but “Bongani”, who was across the road, thereafter shot at the police, enabling him and Mgwaba to board a taxi and escape.

Mgwaba also faces a charge of attempted murder of a pedestrian, Bongani Makhathini, who was allegedly wounded in his shoulder when caught in an exchange of gunfire outside the police station. ingrido@witness.co.za

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