‘I killed to steal baby after I lost mine’

2009-11-04 00:00

A 29-YEAR-OLD woman who was under pressure from her in-laws to have a baby told a Pietermaritzburg high court judge that when a car crash caused her to miscarry for the fourth time earlier this year, she kept it secret for five months and hired a killer to murder another woman who had given birth, so that she could kidnap her baby.

Lungeleni Mabunzi pleaded guilty before Judge Achmat Jappie to kidnapping and to the murder of the baby’s mother, Nokuthula Rose Mkhize, who was stabbed to death at Mtwalume beach on the south coast on August 19.

Mabunzi said she paid the killer, Mlungisi Cele, R1 000.

In a statement she told the court how she and Cele lured the victim to a secluded part of the beach. Cele emerged from some nearby trees and approached them wielding a knife.

“Mlungisi stabbed the deceased once on her neck and demanded that she put her baby, who at that stage was strapped on her back, on the ground.

“After the deceased complied with Mlungisi’s demand, he ordered me to take the baby and leave the scene. I took the deceased’s baby and ran into the trees … I only returned to the beach when Mlungisi shouted for me.

“When I returned to the scene I saw the deceased lying on the ground covered in blood.

“Mlungisi informed me the deceased was dead and I helped him cover the body with branches before we both fled from the scene.”

Mabunzi said she went home and pretended that Mkhize’s baby was her own.

She was arrested seven days later on August 26 in connection with the murder.

She said in her statement that it was out of desperation, after her miscarriage in March, that she resolved to find a baby she could pretend to have given birth to, and she continued to behave as if she were still pregnant.

She went to Durban in August — the month she would have given birth to her own child — with the intention of stealing a baby.

She met and befriended Mkhize, who had a newborn baby at Isipingo.

She pretended that she was in the area looking for a job.

Mabunzi said she knew Cele was a “killer for hire” and contacted him the day before the murder took place.

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