Murder victim left a clue

2016-11-09 11:02
Teacher tried to write a cellphone number on the road after being stabbed and burned.

Teacher tried to write a cellphone number on the road after being stabbed and burned. (File)

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Evidence at the scene of the brutal murder of a KZN schoolteacher indicates she tried to write a cellphone number on the dirt road where she was attacked before she died.

On trial for the murder of Cebisile Happiness Khoza on May 7 last year in Dalton is her boyfriend and fellow school teacher Siyamamkela Odwa Nompumza (31).

They both taught at the Nogida High School in Muden at the time of the murder.

Nompumza denies killing Khoza.

According to his advocate Jan du Plessis, he alleges he last saw her alive when he dropped her off at a hair salon in Greytown on that afternoon.

Nompumza claims he fell asleep at home and when he woke up it was past the time he was supposed to fetch Khoza. However, when he got to the salon it was closed and there was no sign of Khoza.

Despite searching for her he was not able to find her and the next day filed a missing person’s report at Greytown police station.

The state alleges that the motive for Khoza’s murder was a “love triangle”, as she was also involved with a man from her hometown, Ladysmith.

The prosecution alleges that when he found out about the other man, Nompumza was angry and decided to kill Khoza.

On the evening of May 7 last year, armed with a knife and container of petrol, he allegedly drove Khoza to an isolated spot on Boiling Fountain Farm in Dalton. There he allegedly stabbed her multiple times, doused her with petrol and set her alight.

She died at the scene of 40 to 50% burns and “penetrating stab wounds to both lungs”.

Investigating policeman Warrant Officer Moses Ndawonde told Judge Nkosinathi Chili and his assessor that police initially could not identify Khoza.

He said her body lay on a dirt road between a sugar cane plantation and forest. Nearby some numbers had been drawn in the sand. He said he concluded that before she died she tried to write a cellphone number because the numbers began with 071 …

There were also vehicle tyre marks on the road, and police found a two-litre cooldrink container that smelled of petrol and there was still some petrol in it.

The distance between the spot where the woman was set alight and where she fell was estimated at about 12 metres.

Ndawonde said when he went to Greytown to attend the postmortem, he heard from a policeman there that a teacher had filed a missing person’s report on May 8. He then traced Nompumza and was able to identify the victim.

The policeman said Nompumza was “very co-operative” at the beginning and he did not suspect him of involvement in the murder. However, because he was the last person to see Khoza alive he asked him for his fingerprints and he agreed.

On June 1 last year, the SAPS Local Criminal Record Centre informed him that a fingerprint on the cooldrink (petrol) bottle matched Nompumza’s.

He then arrested him.

Ndawonde said earlier Nompumza had told him about another man Khoza was allegedly involved with by the name of Thamsanqa Mkhulise.

Nompumza told him the man was in contact with Khoza on WhatsApp and that he had succeeded in getting his number off his late girlfriend’s cellphone, he said.

While unable to prove a motive, Ndawonde said he now believed jealousy may be a motive for the murder.

The policeman said Nompumza had never revealed to him that he was in the Dalton area on the night of the murder.

Defence advocate Du Plessis said Nompumza claims that when he did not find Khoza at the hair salon on the day she disappeared, he drove to Dalton because he remembered her saying she once had a boyfriend there.

However, on arrival he realised he did not know where or how to find this person and drove back to Greytown.

Du Plessis also suggested to Ndawonde that Nompumza and Khoza were together when they bought the two-litre cooldrink bottle that was found at the murder scene.

The couple took it to a soccer game at Harry Gwala stadium but did not finish the drink, said Du Plessis. He said Nompuza claims Khoza had taken the bottle with her into the salon when he left her there.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder case

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