Guilty: Bloody knife links accused to murdered child

2016-10-22 14:37
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Johannesburg - Blood stains taken from the knife belonging to a young man has positively linked him to the murder of a 5-year-old girl whose body was found dumped in a mielie field in Piet Retief last year.

Sanibona Chivarles Nyandeni, 22, was found guilty of the murder of Lusanda Sweetness Dlamini when he appeared in the Nelspruit Circuit of Pretoria's North Gauteng High Court on Thursday, October 20.

State Prosecutor Advocate John Mayinga said when the deceased was discovered, her dress was pulled up revealing her naked nether regions. But the charge of rape was withdrawn due to lack of evidence and the accused was only charged for murder.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Judge Francis Lekgodi said the deceased, from Piet Retief who disappeared from her village on February 28, 2015, was found a few minutes later with a stab wound in her chest in a mielie field in Piet Retief.

"A knife found in possession of the accused by the community, who apprehended him, had blood stains. After it was submitted to the forensic laboratory for analysis, the blood was matched with samples taken from the deceased and found to be the same. In the absence of any evidence from the accused, I am satisfied he was in possession of the knife. Therefore he is found guilty of murder," said Judge Lekgodi.

The judge said based on evidence from a witness, Lindokuhle Simelane, the accused arrived at his place in Piet Retief in the early hours of March 1. He then spoke to a certain man named Mkhumbi on his cellphone, saying the police were searching for him for stabbing a person with a knife.

"The witness testified the accused took out an Okapi knife from his jacket pocket, closed it and put it back. He said it was the same knife he used to threaten the community members when they tried to apprehend him. The witness stated it was the same knife that was handed to the police when they arrested him," said Lekgodi.

'Impressive' witness

The judge said Simelane's evidence corroborated that of another witness, Vincent Sibiya, a cousin of the deceased. He said these two witnesses independently testified the accused was in possession of a knife.

"Simelane was an impressive witness. He answered questions truthfully and spontaneously. He did not contradict himself.

"Sibiya was among the community members who apprehended the accused. He too was a good witness. He said the accused used the same knife to try defending himself from the community members. But he was disarmed before he used it," said Lekgodi.

The judge said the accused admitted a knife was handed over to the police and in terms of admissions, he indicated the police did receive a knife with blood stains.

"The report from the forensic laboratory was handed on agreement. It was not disputed that the blood stains found on the knife matched that from the deceased. The accused could have taken a stand to tell what had happened in the handing over of the knife to the police. He, however, decided not to," he said.

Lekgodi said this should be taken as proof the knife in question was found in his possession.

"Although he was not seen in the scene at the mielie field, the state has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the deceased," said Lekgodi.

The judge requested the state to provide pre-sentencing reports from a probation officer and social workers to determine a proper sentence.

The case was postponed until November 15 for the pre-sentencing reports and sentencing.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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