Wartburg murders: two plead not guilty

2010-03-09 00:00

TWO men from the Durban area pleaded not guilty in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday to the murders of Ingrid (65) and Siegfried Schadle (68) during an attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances at the Wartburger Hof hotel on November 7, 2007.

Funokwakhwe Ncwane (42) and Muntukayise Ngubane (35), both of uMlazi, are also charged with the attempted murder of chef Max Haller, who was shot at during the incident.

According to the state’s indictment, Ngubane had previously been employed at the hotel, but was dismissed in January 2007.

It is alleged that some time before the murders, the two accused and four other assailants decided to rob the Schadles at the hotel.

The alleged co-perpetrators are identified in the indictment as Mbhekiseni Xulu — who has died — Msizeni Biyela and drivers of two getaway vehicles, Mzo Mthembu and Lucky Moses Mbonambi.

Two days before the attack, some of the assailants allegedly visited the hotel to inspect the premises.

At about 10 pm on the day of the attack they returned to the Wartburger Hof in two Toyota Corollas armed with guns. They parked outside the hotel. Biyela and Xulu allegedly entered while the others stayed outside to act as guards.

The attackers entered the reception area where Ingrid Schadle was behind the counter and pointed a firearm at her. She started to scream.

Ngubane, who knew the premises, allegedly went to the office where the safe was and attempted to open it.

The state alleges that Siegfried Schadle, who had been having supper in the dining room, rushed to his wife’s aid when he heard her screams and grabbed one of the assailants. He was shot in the head.

Ingrid Schadle tried to press a panic button at the desk, but was seen and shot in the chest.

Haller was among those who was attracted by the shooting. The attackers allegedly shot at him several times, but he escaped unhurt. After the shooting, the attackers abandoned the robbery and fled the scene.

The case is proceeding before Judge Kate Pillay and assessors.

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