Teacher on trial denies murder of teacher girlfriend

2017-02-28 12:33
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Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal teacher has denied in the high court that he had anything to do with the disappearance and murder of a fellow teacher, who was also his girlfriend, in 2015.

The victim, Cebisile Happiness Khoza, who was teaching in Muden, went missing on May 7, 2016 and her body was later discovered along a dirt road on Boiling Fountain Farm in the Harburg district. She had been stabbed multiple times and her body was doused in petrol and set alight.

She died of 40 to 50% burns to her body and “penetrating stab wounds to both lungs”. On trial for her murder is her former boyfriend, Siyamamkela Odwa Nompumza, who was a fellow teacher at Nogida High School in Muden.

In evidence before Judge Nkosinathi Chilli and an assessor on Monday Nompumza said the last time he saw Khoza was when he dropped her in Greytown on May 7, 2015.

He alleges he had left her at a hair salon as she was preparing for a graduation ceremony in QwaQwa two days later. Nompumza maintains he went to his room and fell asleep and when he later drove to the salon he found it closed and Khoza was missing. He had reported her disappearance to police the next day.

Under cross examination by state advocate Attie Truter, Nompumza said that he was aware that Khoza was involved in relationships with two other men. One was in Ladysmith and another in Dalton.

He said she told him that she had “separated” from the man in Ladysmith and she had spoken to him about a man in Dalton who was “harassing” her. He had not regarded the relationships as serious.

Nompumza said that when Khoza went missing the thought did cross his mind that she might have “left with either of them”.

However, he said, because she had left behind the things she needed for the graduation, he had suspected that she might have been kidnapped.

He did not inform the school about her disappearance or ask for contact details for her family in order to find out if she was with them. He said this was because he did not want to “get her into trouble”.

He filed a missing person report with police the next day.

According to evidence led by the police investigating officer earlier in the trial the evidence at the crime scene suggested that before she died, Khoza had tried to scratch a phone number into the dirt road in Dalton.

Warrant Officer Moses Ndawonde said the police had not immediately been able to establish Khoza’s identity as she was not known to the people in Dalton.

Her body was found lying on a dirt road between a sugar cane plantation and a forest and near it some numbers had been drawn in the sand as if she had tried to write down a cellphone number.

Ndawonde said when he went to Greytown for the post mortem he had heard about a missing teacher and the police thereafter identified the victim.

Police had not initially suspected Nompumza of involvement.

But after his fingerprints were allegedly found on a cooldrink bottle which had contained petrol at the crime scene, he was arrested, the court heard.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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