Katlehong cousins plead guilty to triple murder of relatives

2016-10-24 20:26

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Johannesburg - Two cousins accused of killing three of their relatives, including a 7-month-old baby, and leaving them in a bathtub filled with hot water, pleaded guilty to all charges on Monday.

The two cousins, aged 17 and 21, appeared in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Monday morning. They may not be named.

They pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, attempted murder, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Two of Thembi Letswale's daughters, her niece, and baby granddaughter were attacked in her Katlehong home, on the East Rand, in December 2015.

One of the daughters, Nthabiseng Letswale, 23, fought off the attackers and ran for help. She survived the attack, with stab wounds.

Her sister Lerato Letswale, 18, cousin Lebohang Prisca Movit, 22, and Movit's 7-month-old baby girl, Bokamoso Skhumbuzo Movit, were killed. They were stabbed repeatedly and put into a bathtub filled with boiling water.

According to the 21-year-old’s affidavit, their grandmother had asked Lerato to prepare food for them before she left for work.

A little while later, Lerato received a call from their grandmother, asking that the two boys should bring food to her at a local scrap yard.

"Along the way, to the scrap yard we bought drugs known as Ice. We smoked some and proceeded to the scrap yard," the cousins’ lawyer, M Leoto, read from the affidavit.

'She pleaded with me that I should not rape her'

When they did not find their grandmother, they returned to the house.

He claimed he got angry after Movit told him to smoke his drugs outside the house.

"Without uttering a word, I stood up, grabbed Prisca, held her around the neck in a vice grip and strangled her until she was motionless," the affidavit read.

In his affidavit, the 17-year-old claimed he approached Lerato in the bathroom and tried to explain what he had witnessed. He said Lerato was frightened and thought he wanted to rape her. She started screaming at him.

"She pleaded with me that I should not rape her. This whole time I was trying to explain and she pushed me out of the bathroom," he claimed.

He pushed her. She bumped her head against the sink and bled from the forehead.

"After she hysterically shouted and cried 'don’t rape me, please don’t rape me,' I panicked, closed her mouth with my hand and strangled her."

When she became motionless, he filled the bathtub with water and went to the living room, where his 21-year-old cousin was.

They decided to put Prisca’s body in the bathtub with Lerato.

According to the 17-year-old’s affidavit, the baby was crying hysterically. He picked him up and drowned him with Prisca and Lerato.

'We still don't know why they did it'

They both remained in the house until Nthabiseng returned in the late afternoon. He said he had stabbed Nthabiseng several times. His cousin hit her over her head with a steel rod and asked why she was not dying.

Nthabiseng remained still and did not move. The cousins thought she had died.

They left the room, and when they returned, Nthabiseng had fled.

She had told her grandmother, who was waiting outside the house, that the two boys had tried to kill her.

After the teenager had stabbed Nthabiseng, he took her handbag and laptop.

The boys said they ransacked the house to make it look like robbers were responsible for the murders.

Local residents caught both boys.

The mother of the two daughters said she was still in need of answers.

"We are confused, we still don't know why they did it. I can't say how I'm feeling," Letswale said.

The case continues on November 21.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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