Maqubela: Guard 'sick to his stomach'
Cape Town - The sight of acting Judge Patrick Maqubela lying dead on his bed at The President Suites in Bantry Bay made security guard Mark Benjamin "feel sick to his stomach", the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.
Maqubela's widow Thandi, and businessman Vela Mabena, are on trial before Judge John Murphy for his murder.
Benjamin completed his testimony on Monday, after three days of intense cross-examination by the defence team, advocate Marius Broeksma for the widow, and attorney Randall Titus for Mabena.
Questioned by Broeksma, Benjamin said the sight of the dead judge's body on the bed in the main bedroom of his luxury apartment made him feel nauseous.
On the Sunday that the body was discovered, Benjamin, who had been on day shift, had to remain on duty "for quite a while", he told the court.
He recalled the stench as he arrived at the apartment and the heat inside as he entered the stuffy flat, and then seeing what he thought was a body covered in a sheet with a pillow over the face on the bed in the main bedroom.
He had entered the apartment after the widow, in the Eastern Cape at the time, had given permission.
He had opened the apartment in the afternoon at the request of the deceased judge's friend Dr M Gobingca, who had expressed concern over the fact that he had been unable to reach the judge by telephone that day.
"When I realised that the judge was dead, we left the apartment immediately without touching anything," Benjamin told the court.
Benjamin notified the police and later returned to the apartment with the police.
"When the police removed the sheet, as well as the pillow covering the judge's face, I felt nauseous and had to go out onto the balcony," he said.
Later, asked by prosecutor Bonny Currie-Gamwo how he felt after seeing the dead judge with the sheet removed, he said: "I felt sick to my stomach and just wanted to get out of there."
Because of what he saw he did not want to return to the apartment again, and whenever he had to, he asked the supervisor to send someone else.
"The supervisor said it was my duty to return to the apartment whenever required to do so but I asked him to send someone else, if possible," said Benjamin.
Dr Gobingca is expected to testify on Monday afternoon.