Cops look for killer of burnt man, family say they know who it is

2011-02-16 00:00

THERE are now many more questions than answers surrounding the death of a Pietermaritzburg man whose body was burnt beyond recognition, following new evidence that he was stabbed before being set alight.

Family members of Moses Mthembu (21) said they knew all along that he was murdered, despite police initially saying they did not suspect foul play. Mthembu burnt to death in his rondavel in an informal settlement along Selby Msimang Road outside Imbali Lodge on February 4.

Police at first issued a statement that he might have fallen asleep leaving a burning candle unattended.

However, yesterday police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said the postmortem result has revealed that the deceased’s body had sustained four stab wounds.

Moses’s elder sister Thenjiwe Mthembu said the family have been informing police about witnesses who claim to have seen the murderer.

“Police told us on February 7 that he has three stab wounds to the stomach and one to the right thigh,” she said, pointing at a picture of her brother’s burnt body on her cellphone.

A young woman, who was next door when Moses was burning inside his room, said she and her room mate were awakened by Moses screaming, “Please don’t burn me my brothers, please don’t burn me my brothers.”

The woman, who is a first year student at Indumiso’s Durban University of Technology, started renting a room in Mthembu’s complex less than a week before the incident.

“He then shouted ‘Help me, they are killing me’. When I looked through the window I saw a huge fire coming from his room.”

“We tried to extinguish the fire, but we failed as it was too huge. I saw him battling to come out but he fell,” said the woman, who has since left the complex for fear of her life.

Jeevan said police are now investigating a case of murder following the postmortem results. “This case is very sensitive. Police have witnesses to the murder,” she said.

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