Priest’s ‘killer’ knew him

2009-01-22 00:00

A 25-year-old man was arrested for the murder of 83-year-old priest Father Eldred Leslie, who was found slain in his home in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday night. The suspect was caught near Leslie’s house on Bulwer Street yesterday morning.

The area alongside the house was abuzz with police vehicles, paramedics, a television news crew and onlookers as the police combed the the house and its surroundings for clues and evidence.

The police started interviewing people around the area and were tipped off about the 25-year-old.

During that period, the suspect was seen walking up the road and he was caught.

A source close to Leslie said the priest used to give the suspect food.

“Father Leslie gave street children food everyday and he [the suspect] was one of the people who came to beg for food and would ask the priest for money sometimes.”

According to the source, the suspect had previously broken into Leslie’s home and “stole some stuff”. “He confessed to the priest and asked for forgiveness.”

He was forgiven, but a few days earlier he apparently made threats against the priest. He allegedly told the source that he would attack the priest.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the suspect has been charged and will appear in court shortly.

Tributes poured in for Father Lelsie yesterday.

“He cared for the needy and gave them food everyday,” said a neighbour.

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