Doctors failed axe murderer, says mom

2012-01-31 22:47
Durban - Doctors assessing former Blue Bulls flanker Phindile Ntshongwana for mental illness had failed his family, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court heard on Tuesday.

"I feel the doctors let us down. I was with them on a number of occasions crying out about my son's condition," Nomafa Letlaka testified.

The court was trying to determine whether Ntshongwana, who was in court, was fit to stand trial after allegedly killing four people in Durban. He also faced two charges of attempted murder, one of kidnapping and one of rape.

Letlaka told the court her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and a bipolar condition in December 2009 at Durban's RK Khan Hospital.

"After he was discharged, I noticed that he was not the same person."

She said after the diagnosis her son would always lock himself in his room. He told her people were following him and wanted to kill him. One evening, Letlaka was on her way home from lectures when her car had a flat tyre. She called her son for help.

"Don't think I'm going to stay here for five minutes. I can't change the wheel for you. I'm driving home now because I'm scared," he told her.

Not responding to treatment

Letlaka told the court that when she became concerned about her son's behaviour she called the Montclair police and ask them to convince her son to be taken for an assessment at a hospital.

Ntshongwana was admitted to the RK Khan Hospital in July 2010. Doctors told Letlaka he was not responding to treatment.

"He was transferred to St George's hospital, but he absconded from the ambulance and went to a friend who stayed in the Transvaal [Gauteng]," Letlaka said.

He later went to his aunt in Cape Town. His mother told her to take him to hospital and to ask the police to escort him there because he needed treatment. He was taken to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital.

Letlaka said when Ntshongwana returned home towards the end of 2010 he continued locking himself in his room.

"This does not mean he never left the house. He would go to the shops and church as I had given him the use of my car," she said.

Letlaka described her son as a religious man, but said she was concerned when she would find him reading the Bible in his study at 05:00.

She said his strange behaviour continued. He was again admitted to St George's hospital on December 23 2010. He was discharged on January 3 2011.

"I told the doctors I was not able to supervise his treatment because he was locking himself in his room. Still, he was not admitted to hospital for a long period."

She said when the police searched Ntshongwana's room they found tablets on his table which indicated he had not been taking the medication for his illness.

The trial continues on Wednesday.
Read more on:    phindile ntshongwana  |  durban

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