Five cold case cops guilty of assault

2014-02-13 00:00

FIVE members of a police task team that was formed to crack cold cases were convicted and sentenced by the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Courtyesterday for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Former Captain Samson Lawne Zimu (60), Lieutenant Thembinkosi Reginal Ngubane (53), Captain Amon Mnezeli Sibiya (48), Constable Vusi Patrick Mzobe (39) and Warrant Officer Mbuso Michael Ndlovu (52) were sentenced for the assault of Mphikiseni Joseph Ntombela in November 2008.

Ntombela was suspected of killing his wife, Khanyisile Bettty Ntombela, in 2002.

They took over the case and arrested him, assaulting him several times at Mountain Rise police station.

In his evidence before court, Ntombela said he was put in a room where he was forced to take off his clothes. They wrapped him in blankets so that he could not move freely. One policeman stood on his stomach and one put a plastic bag over his face.

He was forced to admit that he hired a hitman to kill his wife and was told to confess to the police.

He was sent to a doctor and ordered not to tell him that he was assaulted. Police tried to make him confess to the murder several times but when he got to the magistrate he refused.

Later he was sent to the high court to consult with a legal aid attorney and at that point he reported that he was assaulted by the police, who wanted him to confess to the murder.

The legal aid attorney ordered that he must be returned to the police station and he accompanied them. A case was then opened and the team was suspended.

Magistrate Rosa Mogwera sentenced them to five years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition that they are not convicted of any offences involving the use of violence committed during the period of suspension.

The policemen are suspended from the SAPS at present and are awaiting a disciplinary hearing.

When contacted by The Witness, Ntombela did not want to comment.

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