Guard kills fugitive

2011-06-13 00:00

A MURDER suspect who disappeared in Durban shortly after the bodies of his wife and stepson were found in a flat was shot dead by a security guard in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday evening.

Themba Mchunu was killed a few hours after the funeral of his wife, Philile Mchunu (41), a nurse at Umlazi Place of Safety, and her son Philani Gabuza (19). The deceased were buried in Umlazi J section on Saturday.

Philile’s elder sister, Thuli Dladla (43), said her family and the Mchunus jumped for joy when they heard about Mchunu’s murder.

“It was about 6 pm when the investigating officers phoned to inform us that Themba was killed. People jumped in celebration and we sang hymns and prayed to thank God for answering our prayers so quickly,” said Dladla.

The murders happened at Philile’s flat in Montclair at about 10 pm on May 3. Police found the bodies next to each other and they were locked inside Philile’s bedroom. The main door to the house was also locked. Mchunu allegedly fled with Philile’s grey Hyundai Getz, and a private vehicle tracking company was involved in the search for him.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Jay Naicker said the vehicle was found parked in the Empangeni CBD. Police and security officers surrounded the car and waited for Mchunu to appear.

When he was seen getting into the vehicle at about 5 pm, police attempted to arrest him. However, Mchunu drove directly into a security company’s vehicle and struck a police officer, who escaped without injury.

A security guard shot Mchunu, who died on the scene.

Recalling the day the bodies were found inside the flat, Dladla said she was peeping through the window while the police were searching inside.

“On May 2 at about 3 pm I called my sister, as we always called each other every day, but her phone was off. I called Philani’s phone, which was also off.

“I then called Themba, and the phone rang without being answered. I called my sister’s work, and they said she did not come to work. I then called Themba again only to find that his phone had been switched off, which was when I became suspicious,” she said.

Dladla went to Montclair to find the flat locked. She called police who came into the flat through the roof. “I was standing outside and watching through the bathroom window. Police entered Philani’s room and found no one, but the bed showed that someone had been sleeping on it.

“They went to my sister’s bedroom and kicked the door open, and found them with multiple stab wounds. A pathologist told me that my sister had 27 wounds,” said Dladla.

She said Themba Mchunu was fired from a Durban vehicle manufacturing company after he was charged with defrauding the company.

“On the same Friday the bodies were found he was supposed to appear at Verulam Magistrate’s Court for fraud. My sister was paying for his lawyers because she loved him,” she said.

She said the relationship turned abusive even before they married in 2007. “In one incident he arrived at her work with a firearm in his hand. He went to her office only to find that she was in another office.

“A colleague phoned to warn her. He was searching for her in all the offices until police arrived. He escaped by jumping over the fence,” said Dladla.

Naicker confirmed that Mchunu was standing trial for fraud.

He said Empangeni police have opened an inquest docket and are investigating.

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