Madman bludgeons woman

2009-08-18 00:00

“I HEARD a commotion outside. The gardener was yelling for him to stop it. When I got to the gate she was just lying there, face-down in a pool of blood,” said Lisa Heathman.

Heathman stood among the shocked crowd as police scouted the brutal murder scene yesterday at midday of a young wo­man who was bludgeoned to death by a man wielding an iron bar.

The body of Nonpumelo Ndlovu, a 21-year-old from Mpendle, lay covered in a silver foil sheet on the pavement outside Aberdeen flats on Boom Street, between Chief Albert Luthuli and Peter Kerchhoff streets.

Heathman works at a property firm directly across the road from where the attack took place.

“People tried to help her, but he wouldn’t stop. He threatened everyone that tried to get near them with that thing in his hand,” she said.

A resident at the flats who witnessed the attack said that, even when Ndlovu fell to the ground, the unknown man continued to bash her with the metal bar, causing massive head injuries.

“If someone tried to stop him, he lifted the bar and told them to come,” she said, mimicking his hand gesture to come closer.

She said that she too tried to stop him. But after every interruption, he continued to hit her.

It is believed that Ndlovu, who is a Masifundisani facilitator, and a friend were on their way back from the Education Department where they had returned learning material used in a workshop for elderly people in Mpendle.

They walked passed the unknown attacker, who is said to have suddenly begun to beat her — for no apparent reason.

Police believe that the man, who had been collecting scrap metal before the incident, is mentally disturbed.

They arrived on the scene after her friend, Nokuthula Mohloung, ran off and stopped a passing patrol vehicle.

Bystanders said that when the police tried to stop him at gunpoint, he refused and continued to beat her.

They persisted, and he eventually attacked them too.

“[They] were forced to shoot at him to restrain him,” said police spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram.

ER24 transported the wounded suspect to a local hospital where he is under police supervision. “The bullet is believed to have exited his arm and penetrated the chest of the man,” said spokesman Derrick Banks.

“How do you approach a man like that?” asked Marilyn Shaw, who saw the commotion when she drove passed the scene.

Shaw, who manages one of the nearby businesses, said the man had been waving the “rusted metal stake” in the air when she passed them.

“They did what they had to do,” she said. “Nobody else was brave enough to go near him.”

Even after speaking to the man while the medical team assisted him in the ambulance, police were uncertain of the motive behind the attack.

“He said it was a mistake,” said one police officer to another, while Ndlovu’s body lay motionless beneath the sheet of silver foil; her legs and neat shoes sticking out.

People still standing around after the ordeal said they had seen the man around the city.

Many shouted that “the criminal” had got what he deserved. Some even said that they’ve called the police on numerous occasions when they see men like him in the streets, but nothing is done.

Her friend was too traumatised to speak to The Witness yesterday. She stood frozen near the ambulance, as police tried to console her.

A pile of scrap metal and empty beer bottles lay abandoned at the scene, next to a black rubbish bin with wheels that the man used to transport the scrap he had collec­ted.

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