‘Hijacking was real’ says woman on trial for husband’s murder

2012-01-31 00:00

IMBALI woman Thenjiwe Griffiths (29), on trial for allegedly staging the hijacking and murder of her late husband, Allan (60), in 2006, alleged that the hijacking was real and she had narrowly escaped being raped by an assailant.

Griffiths pleaded not guilty before Judge Rishi Seegobin and assessors yesterday to murder and robbery charges and claimed in a statement read by her advocate, Shane Matthews, that she had been a victim of both the hijackers and police who did not believe her story.

State advocate Dorian Paver said the prosecution will “paint a completely different picture”.

Evidence by state witnesses will seek to show that Allan Griffiths was a man who had retired from the municipality at Richards Bay, had money and who also “unfortunately abused alcohol”. He was divorced and alone and allegedly met Thenjiwe at a club in Richards Bay, and married her in April 2005.

Far from being happy, evidence would show that he had approached an attorney to file for divorce, had tried to obtain a domestic violence interdict against his wife, and that she had stopped him from having contact with his family.

During their marriage “vast amounts of cash” allegedly found their way out of Griffiths’s bank account, which two weeks prior to his death, went into overdraft.

Thenjiwe Griffiths said she had met her husband in Pietermaritzburg while walking along the road after attending modelling classes.

He had offered her a lift and when she told him she was not employed he had said he was from Richards Bay and had a job for her. He had given her his contact details.

A relationship started and they were married on April 28, 2005.

“During 2005 my husband stated that he was tired of interference from his family and friends, who were opposed to our marriage … He said we must move to Gauteng province.” They had put their house up for sale and made an offer on a property in Midrand, she said.

Griffiths said on the evening of January 19, 2006 while driving from Midrand to Pietermaritzburg to visit her family they had stopped near Colenso because her husband heard a noise at the front of the car.

As he had closed the car bonnet a bakkie pulled up. A man pointed a handgun at her husband and they were both ordered into the back seat. Two men got into their vehicle, while a third followed in the bakkie.

Griffiths said en route one of the assailants ordered her to undress until she was completely naked.

He thereafter wanted her to perform a sexual act, but his companion told him to get out of the car. She alleged that after alighting the man tried to rape her, but was interrupted by an approaching car. Her attacker jumped into the car, which drove off.

“I had by now run into the grass at the side of the road. They drove off at high speed … My husband’s car drove out of sight and I ran back along the road towards the highway,” she said.

The case is proceeding.

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