Courts hears how prisoner walked out of court cell and killed cop

2017-02-27 20:43
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Mbombela - The Nelspruit High Court has heard how a suspected rhino poacher walked calmly out of the regional court's cells after bribing officers, before shooting and killing a Mpumalanga police officer, Constable Joseph Baloyi, outside his house in 2015.

Mthobisi Lenox Ngwenyama, 36, was arrested in a joint operation by crime intelligence and the special task force while hiding at his girlfriend's home on May 27, 2015. He was accused of killing Baloyi - the investigating officer in his case - outside his house at Kabokweni on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Judge Johan Kruger in the Nelspruit High Court on Friday rejected Ngwenyama's claim that the police had assaulted him and forced him to confess.

In his statement, read by Captain Freddy Magagula before court, the accused said that, after his arrest by Baloyi on August 19, 2014, he had arranged to escape from custody with the help of a police officer known as Morris during his appearance in the Nelspruit Regional Court.

"Morris demanded R3 000 cash. I promised to give him R1 200, as I was selling things in prison. On May 13, when Morris came to take us to court, I offered him R1 000. I promised the rest later and he put me in one cell with Jimmy Mkhabela and another accused," he said.

Ngwenyama said the police officer returned with another officer and opened the cell door for them.

'It was Thabo's idea'

"He said I should fulfil my promise and walk out through Court Two. When I did, I found a police member who only looked at me and did nothing. I walked out of the building, took a taxi to my girlfriend at Ivory Trust," he said.

He said, two days later, he had met with his friend Thabo Maluka and a man called Wandile, and together they made plans to kill Baloyi.

"It was Thabo's idea to kill Baloyi. Two days later, he brought a pump gun with three live rounds and a 9mm Norinco pistol with a fully loaded magazine. We drove in a black Mazda Sting in search for Baloyi. Thabo said he knew him and that he was driving a black vehicle," he said.

They waited for Baloyi not far from his house at Kabokweni from 18:00 until 19:00, until he finally arrived and they saw him driving into the yard.

"Thabo recognised him. We approached him as he parked in front of the garage. I carried the pump gun and Wandile had the 9mm. I shot him two times and Wandile fired several shots. We left and drove off in our Mazda Sting," he said.

Ngwenyama said he later called his co-accused in prison and told them that he and his friends had killed Baloyi. He was raising money to escape to Mozambique. He then went into hiding.

Confession rejected

"It was not my aim to kill Baloyi. I killed him only to assist Thabo, as evidence against him was overwhelming. I ran out of prison because I was tired of staying in there," he said.

The confession was rejected by the court.

Judge Kruger said the court believed Ngwenyama had fabricated his evidence, particularly his accounts of police assaults with a spade, wires, rifle butts, open hands and kicks to the body.

Ngwenyama, who faces charges of murder, escaping from custody and attempted murder, escaped from the court's cells on May 13, 2015, before he was due to appear in the Nelspruit Regional Court for a rhino poaching incident dating to 2014.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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