Man accused of killing mom says he fell asleep waiting for help

2015-08-03 18:24
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Johannesburg - A Naturena man accused of killing his mother has denied the charges, saying he fell asleep while waiting for help.

Cecil Simon Dalixolo Sihlali was testifying during his trial in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.

"I have no idea who killed my mum. It is the very same question that makes my heart bleed right now," said Sihlali during his evidence, led by his lawyer Leonita Abramowitz. He was arrested on September 4 last year and has been charged with his mother Dorina's murder.

According to Sihlali, the last time he spoke to his mother, an assistant nurse at Flora Clinic, was on the last Sunday of August last year, when she was called out of church to do a shift.

He last saw her alive the day before, a Saturday.

He said that they spoke during the day on the Sunday over the phone while she was at work, and he said he would wait for her to come home before he went to see his girlfriend in Midrand.

Earlier, he said it was his duty to open the gate for her when she came home late.

That Sunday she came home about midnight.

"I had to wake up and go and open the gate," he said.

He then left after midnight to visit his girlfriend.

Used his mother's car

He was low on petrol and went to a friend in Freedom Park who was still asleep, but then drove to Midrand anyway to visit his girlfriend.

During questioning, it emerged that Lorraine du Plessis, the woman he described as his girlfriend, had been an old flame when he was younger, and she was no longer his girlfriend. But, he wanted to marry her.

He was using his mother's car, which he said earlier he was allowed to use.

But, he got lost in Rabie Ridge and, because he was low on petrol, had decided to go back home.

When he got back home at about 05:00, he noticed the gate was locked, but not in the way he usually locked it.

He switched off the car, went inside and the first thing he checked for was whether the dogs were there, but they were gone.

'I saw a pool of blood'

The kitchen security gate was locked, but the wooden door was open. He said it was then that he realised that perhaps someone had broken in.

"So when I opened the door, the first thing I saw was spots of blood. There were spots on the floor," he said.

He looked down the passage towards his mother's room and went straight to it.

"I could not open the door, I had to force it."

After pushing it, he saw that his mother was "sleeping" on the floor.

"When I opened [the door], I saw a pool of blood. She was sleeping in a pool of blood and she was... injured,'' he said.

Because they did not get on well with people in the community, and because he did not have airtime, he went to the Mondeor Police Station, risking driving on an empty tank, to report it.

Fell asleep on the sofa 

He said he was told that the police vans were driving in the area and would go to the house.

He said he went back home to wait for them and fell asleep on the sofa until Tuesday morning.

"I sat on the sofa... still waiting, panicking at the same time. I woke up about 04:00 or 05:00 on Tuesday."

He could not remember which policeman he spoke to at Mondeor Police Station when he first went to report finding her.

Still without money for airtime, or petrol, he went to Cash is King to pawn his laptop so that he could go back to the police station to ask why they had not come to the house. It was too early at Cash is King, but he left his ID there.

He went to a friend to try and borrow money, but was not successful. He said the hills in Mondeor were very steep and so he said he ran out of petrol.

A police van came past and he told them what he was trying to do, so they took him to the house, with him sitting in the back of the police van.

Argumentative

He said when he arrived there, media were already waiting, and neighbours had gathered as though something had happened there.

"I was arrested and from there I saw myself sitting in court for killing my mum."

He became argumentative, at times banging the exhibits in front of him, demanding that prosecutor Talita Louw not put words in his mouth.

But she could not understand how he could not arrange help for his mother, whom he said had been injured. She wanted to know why he would go to the police station to report it, then go home and wait for the police during that emergency?

"Why didn't you phone the ambulance on your phone? It's free. Why didn't you phone 10111, it's free."

"I had a cellphone, no airtime," he said.

He also said he was not responsible for the house being what the magistrate called "thoroughly ransacked", according to pictures taken after police arrived.

He said it was not like that when he went to the police, and when they finally went to the house they would not let him into the room.

Covered her body

Through questioning, he changed his statement that she looked injured, and said that he had established that she was not breathing.

He said all he had done after seeing her body, was to cover her body according to his culture.

He said that a neighbour called "Junior" was lying when he said he heard noises and shouting in the house on the Monday.

The prosecutor noted that his mother's handbag and bank cards were missing.

The adversarial nature of Louw's cross-examination was opposite to his relaxed demeanour in the morning session.

He startled the court by saying that all his troubles started when First National Bank started targeting his mother because of his own political activism.

Sihlali, a former debt collector for FNB at its Fairland office, described himself as a musician, activist, politician and traditional healer, and said he and his mother had a relationship of mutual respect.

The only time they had words was when he had to go out and open the gate late, but it was never serious.

She also gave him her bank card and pin so he could pay accounts on her behalf.

He told Radasi, he and his mother never had any problems until FNB discovered they were related when she was behind on her bond instalments.

He acknowledged that his mother gambled with a friend from work, but said it was never a problem, and that she managed her affairs well.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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