Emotional escaper denies all

2014-01-15 00:00

MURDER and robbery accused Sthembiso Vincent Shabalala shed tears while testifying in his defence at the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday.

Shabalala, from Highflats near Ixopo, told Judge Nompumelelo Radebe and her assessor that he knows nothing about a string of charges against him, including the murder and robbery of Richmond farmer Rob Anderson on August 7, 2012.

He added that because the incidents happened long ago he couldn’t remember where he was when they occurred.

He has, however, pleaded guilty to one count of escaping from Donnybrook police cells in March 2012.

Asked by his lawyer Di Franklin to explain evidence that a Toyota Hilux robbed from Rajsingh Ramdalal at Umzinto on November 29, 2009, was found near his house and the keys in his bedroom, Shabalala said the keys were picked up by his wife when she swept the shop just above their home.

“I did not commit this offence,” he said.

Shabalala said he also knew nothing about the theft of a silver grey Toyota Corolla from Yastheel Bijnath in Merebank on May 29, 2010.

Asked how the car came to be found at his homestead with bullet holes in it, Shabalala said the vehicle was one that was used by his two brothers-in-law, Nunupe and Bhekizitha Mchunu, to drive him to Grey’s Hospital. This happened after the trio came under fire from unknown gunmen who shot him (Shabalala) in the buttocks while they were standing leaning against the car and drinking together.

Describing the incident and how he’d had to hide from the attackers, Shabalala began to cry and blow his nose. However, he said he was able to continue testifying despite his emotion.

As far as the murder and robbery of Richmond farmer Anderson was concerned, Shabalala said he was unaware of it.

He told the court his former girlfriend, Angeline Ngubane, who gave evidence for the prosecution, was “mistaken” when she testified that he’d assaulted her by biting and hitting her on August 17, 2012, and that a 9 mm pistol which she’d pointed out to police at a house in Phoenix, belonged to him.

The court has heard evidence that three spent cartridges found at the scene of Anderson’s murder, were ballistically linked to the gun in question.

The case is proceeding.

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