Victim’s mother gives evidence

2010-03-10 00:00

THE mother of one of the oldest known survivors of cystic fibrosis, Mark Truter (38), who was killed during a robbery at the Thistle Hotel on March 25, 2008, described yesterday how she found her son lying tied up with duct tape bound so tightly around his face he was not able to breathe.

Paulette Truter was giving evidence before Judge Isaac Madondo at the high court trial of Wiseman Vusimuzi Ndlovu (29) and Sphelele Peter Ngubo (28), who are charged with murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances arising from the incident.

They have pleaded not guilty.

The accused were allegedly among a group who allegedly accosted Truter — who was the night manager at the hotel, which was owned by his parents — in his room. They allegedly throttled him, tied his arms and legs with duct tape and covered his nose and mouth with the tape.

The robbers allegedly obtained keys to the safe from Truter’s bedroom and went downstairs, where they opened the safe and removed R35 726 in cash, two cameras and a cellphone.

According to the indictment, Wiseman Ndlovu’s brother, Snothi Ryder Ndlovu, worked at the Thistle Hotel as a barman at the time of the incident.

Snothi Ndlovu — who died of natural causes while in prison awaiting trial — allegedly gave his brother a security disc with which to gain access to the hotel premises.

Paulette Truter told the court yesterday she had received a telephone call on the morning of the murder urging her to come to the hotel.

On arrival she went upstairs to her son’s room and discovered him lying on the floor.

His ankles were tied together and his hands were bound behind his back.

She said there was duct tape tightly wound around his face from just below his eyes to his chin.

It was tied so tightly that she could not get her finger between the tape and her son’s skin.

The tape was eventually cut off, but her son was already dead.

In response to a question by the judge, Truter said she believes that any person who had duct tape tied around the face as tightly would not be able to breathe, even if the person did not suffer from cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is an illness that affects the sufferer’s breathing and digestive system.

The case is proceeding.

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