Nottingham Road murder suspect in court

2017-03-06 10:14
Murder accused Thulani Mthembu is led to the cells at the Howick police station by investigating officer, Warrant Officer Sikhumbuzo Nicholas Mdunge on Friday. Mthembu appeared briefly at the Howick Magistrate’s Court on Friday after being arrested on Tuesday for the murder, kidnapping and robbery of Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik at The Bend estate outside Nottingham Road. INSET: The house at The Bend estate in Nottingham Road from which Christine and Roger Solik were kidnapped and later murdered.

Murder accused Thulani Mthembu is led to the cells at the Howick police station by investigating officer, Warrant Officer Sikhumbuzo Nicholas Mdunge on Friday. Mthembu appeared briefly at the Howick Magistrate’s Court on Friday after being arrested on Tuesday for the murder, kidnapping and robbery of Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik at The Bend estate outside Nottingham Road. INSET: The house at The Bend estate in Nottingham Road from which Christine and Roger Solik were kidnapped and later murdered. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Mooi River man appeared in court on Friday, charged with the murders of Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik — a crime that has left their neighbours living in fear.

Thulani Mthembu (43) was arrested and charged with two counts of murder, two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances as well as two counts of kidnapping in the Solik case.

Mthembu was arrested on Tuesday and appeared briefly in the Howick Magistrate’s court on Friday. The case was remanded for March 13 for Mthembu’s bail application.

Neighbours of the Soliks, who were kidnapped from their home at The Bend estate last month and murdered, have said the tragic incident will not scare them away from their homes.

Christine was found dead, later that day, in the Lower Lotheni River with her hands and feet bound with wire and her face covered with a pillow case.

Roger, who was suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease, was found two days later, two kilometres down the river from where his wife was found.

Roger’s hands and feet were also bound and his head had also been covered with a pillow case.

Police are still investigating the case and are expected to make more arrests soon.

'Vicious' murder causes shock waves 

The brutal murder of the well-loved couple sent shock waves through Nottingham Road’s The Bend estate, resulting in the beefing up of security and concern over the community’s safety.

Nestled among the rolling hills of Nottingham Road, The Bend Estate is a serene and charming place to live in.

Surrounded by the lush green of the valley, and the winding river of the Lower Lotheni, the view from each of the estate’s homes appears to be something out of a fairy tale.

However, the empty Soliks’ home, perched on top of a hill overlooking the valley, serves as a reminder that no one is truly safe.

Two neighbours and friends of the Soliks who asked not to be named said the entire estate community was still in shock and in mourning following their “vicious” murder.

The husband and wife said the loss of the couple was “a tragedy and a waste” and the entire incident was “beyond comprehension”.

They said, however, that the “tragic” incident would not scare them away from their home.

“We are here to stay,” said the two neighbours.

They said that following the Soliks’ murder, there had been a greater sense of community within the estate and the community of Nottingham Road as a whole.

“It is important that we all look after each other,” they said.

Panic and anxiety 

They added that the incident had created an awareness of the importance of a close-knit community and the support this provided.

“The police and SA CAN have been absolutely fantastic,” they said.

“Throughout the investigation, there has been this sense that they know what they are doing and we are confident that they will make the other arrests soon.”

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said although the incident had created a stronger sense of community, it had also caused panic and anxiety among the estate’s residents.

“People are panicking,” he said.

“Everyone is putting in alarms and various other security measures.

“Security representatives are coming in, people are putting in beams and security gates.”

He said that although many of the houses did not have proper security systems in place prior to the Soliks’ murder, he had had a safe room built in his home “just in case”.

He said the vicious attack had “spooked the community”, but said one would find crime wherever one went.

“It does not matter where you are. You had better be wide awake,” he said.

The neighbour said the attack had not changed his love for his house and the area, but had rather made him and his neighbours more aware of the possibility of danger.

SA CAN’s Brian Jones said on Sunday that the police were still investigating and that the police and the other role players had been working non-stop to give the Solik family a sense of closure and justice. He added that strong communications and teamwork had led to the speedy arrests.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  farm attacks

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