Priest murder: five plead not guilty

2011-09-16 00:00

FIVE men accused of the murder of Austrian priest Ernst Joseph Plöchl in 2009 appeared in the high court in Ramsgate this week.

All five pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Kheme Wilfred Nkofo (22), Motlalekhotso Gugushe (23), Mohau Thabo Molefe (21), Lehlohonolo Jacob Matabane (43) and Potlako Madiehe (26) appeared on charges of theft, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder.

Father Plöchl, who was 78 years old at the time, was born in Neumarkt im Mühlkreis, Austria. He came to South Africa in the mid 1960s and ran a Catholic school with 400 students at Mariazell Mission Station near Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.

Robbers attacked Father Plöchl while he was at the school on May 30 2009.

He suffered head injuries and died at the scene.

His killers took R17 000 in cash, shoes, two coats and a torch and fled.

One of the accused, Matabane, is a former boarder master at Mariazell High School where he served with Father Plöchl.

The trial continues. — WR.

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