Cops who cracked killer son

2016-03-28 13:30
Captain Pieter van Zanten, Sergeant Sandile Magubane and Colonel Mhlanga Madondo, who headed the team that secured the confession of Jibraeel Mohideen.

Captain Pieter van Zanten, Sergeant Sandile Magubane and Colonel Mhlanga Madondo, who headed the team that secured the confession of Jibraeel Mohideen. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A trio of Alexandra Road police station detectives whose investigative skills secured a 20-year sentence for father killer Jibraeel Mohideen, say they are confident his accomplices will also be convicted.

Although Mohideen confessed to the gory details of his father and Pietermaritzburg businessman Ashraf Mohideen’s murder, little has been known about the events that led to his first court appearance.

In an exclusive interview with The Witness, three detectives described how they put the pieces of the puzzle together and secured the confessions that led to Jibraeel Mohideen and his accomplice, Zandisile Mtshali, being imprisoned.

Around the same table at which Mohideen confessed to plotting his father’s murder, The Witness sat with Alexandra Road police station’s Colonel Mhlanga Madondo, Captain Pieter van Zanten and Sergeant Sandile Magubane who described the case that shocked the city through their own eyes.

Magubane, who has 15 years of experience in the police, took charge of the scene on the fateful night of February 25.

Magubane praised all the police role players that night for securing the house so vital evidence could be traced.

“We picked up various leads from the house on that night. It gave us direction,” Magubane said.

The detectives agreed that from the onset they were suspicious of the domestic worker, Emily Mchunu, and Jibraeel Mohideen.

“Their statements did not tally. We always have to eliminate the family as suspects first in crimes like these, but their statements raised more suspicion,” Magubane said.

Madonda, who is the detective branch commander at Alexandra police station, said Mohideen refused to enter the house while police were “searching and seizing items” even though a family member or the homeowner must be present.

Magubane said Mohideen’s demeanour that night was calm and emotionless, which was similar to his emotional state during his court appearances.

“He did not even shed a tear. We said we would do our best to find the killers, and normally people encourage this, but he just said ‘Okay’,” said Magubane.

“We asked him general questions on the night because we had to be sensitive. But this is a tactic.

“We asked those questions to also assess his mental state after his father had just been murdered.”

Madondo said when he returned to the house the following night, Mohideen said he would not stay there with the rest of his family who were preparing the funeral.

“The first sign of a guilty conscience,” Madondo said.

“He said he did not feel safe in his own home after what had happened. But how can you not feel safe when there are so many people around?”

When Mohideen was arrested on Sunday, March 13, the detectives hauled him into their offices.

Dimly lit, with a round table in the middle and a portable air conditioner near the window, the office was where Mohideen admitted to masterminding his father’s murder.

“He was admitting, then denying and trying to protect himself.

“He would be first apologetic, then, in the same breath, he would not care. It seemed as though he had a split personality. Not once did he break down and cry. But we sat, he smiled here and there. He smoked. We took breaks,” Madondo said.

The confession lasted almost five hours.

“He spun stories about how he hired two hitmen to ruffle up his now wife’s ex-boyfriend and how those hitmen were trying to extort money from him now and in turn murdered his father because he would not pay,” Magubane said.

With the supervision and guidance of Van Zanten, who has been in the business of putting violent criminals behind bars for 32 years, the pair said they adopted a strategy to let Mohideen speak freely as they took down notes. The investigators would ask the same question at different intervals — but phrased differently — looking for inconsistencies in his answers.

Asked what the detectives thought the motive for the murder was, Van Zanten said Mohideen tried to make it seem that there was “bad blood” between himself and his father.

“We sensed there was something deeper than just a bad relationship with someone,” Van Zanten said.

Mohideen implicated Mchunu as having found the hired hitmen.

One of the alleged killers, Joshua Nxumalo, is allegedly Mchunu’s boyfriend, and the other, Zandisile Mtshali, has also pleaded guilty and is serving a 25-year sentence.

“He [Mtshali] spilled the beans on the entire operation,” Van Zanten laughed. The detectives thanked every officer who played a role in the case as well as Magma Investigations officer Swami Pillay.

“We are sure the other two accused will be convicted,” Madondo said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  crime  |  saps

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