Man bites man, man dies — but it wasn’t murder, court rules

2012-01-17 00:00

A GUESTHOUSE owner was yesterday acquitted on a charge of murder after the bite he had given a security guard caused the guard’s death six days later.

A post mortem showed that Andrew Yusuf (40) had died of “a human bite with complications and multiple organ failure” after the wound became septic.

Olushola Talabi (42) was charged with murder for inflicting the bite, but the Pretoria Regional Court acquitted him.

Magistrate David Makhoba said: “Although a human bite can cause someone’s death, it depends on circumstances. There is no evidence that the accused knew his bite could lead to the deceased’s death, nor that he had intent to kill him.”

Talabi, manager and co-owner of a three-star guesthouse in Centurion, testified that he was waiting for German guests on November 14, 2010. When he walked into the guesthouse he saw rain leaking through the roof of the sitting room.

“I found the cleaner, Jean Mudavanhu, with her feet on the sofa, watching TV. When I asked her why she did not place a bucket under the leak, she said she wanted to finish watching the wrestling on TV,” he said.

Talabi fetched the bucket and called Mudavanhu’s boyfriend, Yusuf, to fetch her as the manager was considering disciplinary steps.

The cleaner allegedly told Yusuf, who was a head taller than Talabi, that Talabi had slapped her. The two men started arguing and Talabi walked outside.

“Yusuf followed me. He grabbed the weed eater and [tried to] hit me with it. He, however, hit a stone and the weed eater broke. “Then he jumped on me. I fell on my back with him on top of me. He strangled me with both hands.

“All I could do was to bite him on his hand. He did not release and I bit harder,” said Talabi.

After he managed to free himself, Talabi called the police to remove the couple.

Mudavanhu testified Yusuf’s hand was swollen in the morning. He went to hospital three days later, but died two days after that.

Advocate André Swanepoel argued for Talabi that Yusuf was the aggressor and the accused had defended himself.

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