Shock after KZN mall stabbing

2014-07-08 09:26
Stabbing victim Sindiswa Mshengu's sister Lindiwe and aunt Maggie react with grief at the crime scene. (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

Stabbing victim Sindiswa Mshengu's sister Lindiwe and aunt Maggie react with grief at the crime scene. (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

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Jeff Wicks, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - As 27-year-old Liberty Midlands Mall parking attendant Sindiswa Mshengu lay in a pool of blood clutching desperately at two stab wounds in her neck on Monday, her alleged attacker threw himself from a bridge in an apparent attempt to take his own life.

Mshengu, still grasping a fistful of bloodstained parking tickets, died minutes later.

Her slaying followed a heated exchange of words, the final act of an engagement called off just days before.

The man who allegedly stabbed her, also an employee at the mall, plunged onto the freeway below and was dragged to the roadside by police as cars and trucks swerved around him.

So hasty and impassioned was his attack that he left one of his shoes behind, which lay just metres from her body.

Grief

In making his getaway, he sped to the Armitage Road bridge where he abandoned his car and hurled himself over the guard rail.

As detectives carefully photographed Mshengu’s body, which lay slumped against a kerb near the entrance inside the mall property, her attacker was rushed under police guard to Northdale Hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

Her sister Lindiwe Mshengu, who was overcome by grief when she arrived at the mall, spoke of her cancelled engagement and the threat against her.

She said a man close to her sister had threatened her recently.

Mshengu’s family gathered her belongings and cleaned her blood off the patch of road where she died at the mall’s entrance, in line with traditional custom, while police examined the dumped car. Inside they found a bloodstained knife, thought to have been used in the attack.

Stabbed in seconds

A security guard, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said that the gruesome murder played out in seconds.

“He was in his car and he called her over to the door because she had been working at the boom gate. She went over and he climbed out and stabbed her,” she said.

The guard said Mshengu staggered three paces before she collapsed.

“Another guard was screaming on the radio for help but it all just happened like lightning; before we could do anything the man sped away,” she added.

The knifeman, an employee at a clothing outlet at the mall, was described by his manager as hardworking and diligent.

“He was a very good man and he was always very friendly. This whole thing comes as an absolute shock,” said The Company Man’s manager Trevor Pearson. Pearson added that the man had failed to turn up for work on Monday.

“He was supposed to be working a casual shift and it was out of the ordinary that he didn’t arrive. He had been with us almost three years.”

Investigation

A well-placed police source said that CCTV footage of the entryway as well as the statement of an eyewitness, a guard who had been stationed with Mshengu, would form the backbone of the case against the lone suspect.

The source added that evidence gathered from the car, including what is understood to be the murder weapon, would further bolster the investigation.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said that medics who had examined Mshengu’s body found two large stab wounds on her neck.

“The woman was lying in a large pool of blood. Two large wounds were visible on her neck. Paramedics assessed her and discovered that no signs of life were present,” he said.

He added that medics had also treated the bridge jumper.

Liberty Midlands Mall manager Umi Khan said their security personnel were co-operating with the police probe.

“We are co-operating with the SAPS in whichever way possible during their investigation into the incident. As this case is currently under investigation, we are unable to comment any further.

“The safety of our shoppers and tenants is of utmost importance to centre management. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased,” she added.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  domestic violence  |  crime
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