Griffiths: Wife led cops to body

2012-02-07 00:00

MURDER accused Thenjiwe Griffiths (29) directed police to the spot where her husband’s corpse was found lying hidden by long grass near Colenso in January 2006.

Lieutenant Mebra Nzimande of the Pietermaritzburg serious and violent crimes unit told high court Judge Rishi Seegobin that Griffiths pointed out the body after her arrest on suspicion of involvement in her husband’s abduction.

He arrested her because he was “not satisfied with what she was saying” about the alleged hijacking and because of a report made by Allan Griffiths’s sister, Carolyn Riddle.

At that stage the police knew only that Allan Griffiths was missing after allegedly being hijacked.

Nzimande said that while he and his colleague, Lieutenant Musa Ndlela, were taking Griffiths to Pietermaritzburg she told them something that caused them to turn around and return to Colenso. She directed them along a gravel road that turned off the N3, but by the time they got there it was already dark.

After keeping her overnight in the cells at Colenso, they returned the next day.

Despite being cautioned that she was not obliged to continue with a pointing out, she chose to proceed.

Her directions led them to the place where Allan Griffiths’s body lay. Nzimande said the body was not visible from the road as it was concealed by long grass.

Griffiths told him where to stop and when Nzimande alighted from the vehicle he discovered the body about 10 paces from the roadside.

She did not appear “surprised or shocked” by the find, he said.

Allan Griffiths lay on his back, and there was a mark around his neck indicating he could have been strangled. His identity document was found in the pocket of his shirt.

Nzimande denied defence allegations that he and other policemen insulted and abused Thenjiwe Griffiths verbally and physically while questioning her at the Colenso police station.

In a statement handed in at the start of the case Griffiths said that after the hijackers drove off with her husband, leaving her naked at the roadside, she got a lift from a truck driver and reported to police at an accident scene near Ultra City.

She claimed that no one gave her clothes and on her arrival at Estcourt police station she was still naked.

“I heard police saying I must be a prostitute from the highway. Many male policemen came to ask me questions, but it was obvious to me they were only coming to see me in my naked state,”she alleged.

This was denied yesterday by female constable S.N. Hlophe, who said she took a statement from Griffiths about the alleged hijacking that night.

Hlophe said Griffiths was “not stark naked” and wore a bra and a short piece of cloth around her waist. But because she was “undressed” Hlophe took her into an office and shut the door.

Hlophe said Griffiths appeared to be in shock and was “shivering”.

For that reason she sat with her for about an hour before her statement to give her time to compose herself.

The hearing continues.

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