Murder accused tie the knot

2008-07-09 00:00

Howick murder accused Sunesh Manilall (34) and Mumtaz Osman (34), who were married by Muslim rites late last year, sealed their matrimonial bond in a Hindu ceremony at the Siva Soobramoniar Temple in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street yesterday.

The couple are on trial for the alleged murder of Manilall’s late wife, Monika, who was shot dead at her Howick home on February 3, 2006. They are both out on bail.

The Witness received a tip-off about the wedding ceremony just after 10 am yesterday.

By the time a reporter arrived at the temple, the ceremony was over. An eyewitness said the couple arrived with just one guest, who appeared to be the mother of the groom.

The ceremony started at about 9 am and ended barely an hour later. The bride wore a blue sequinned sari and the couple were adorned with garlands of maroon and white chrysanthemums.

Osman was initially charged with the murder and appeared in court with accomplice Siyabonga Mdlalose. Osman is alleged to have masterminded the plot, which involved the hiring of Mdlalose to carry out the shooting. Evidence in court at the time suggested that the motive behind the murder was Osman’s extra-marital affair with Sunesh Manilall.

Mdlalose, who pleaded guilty, was tried separately and in January this year was sentenced to life imprisonment. At the time police said they were looking for another accomplice, Victor Mbatha.

Osman, who pleaded not guilty, remained out on bail. In September last year she applied for her bail conditions to be varied so that she could move in with Manilall, and in October they were married according to Muslim rites.

In March this year the case took a twist when both Mbatha and Manilall were arrested and charged in connection with the murder.

Manilall became a co-accused with Osman and he was allowed out on R20 000 bail.

The case took another bizarre turn in May when Manilall was re-arrested on a fresh charge — conspiracy to murder his co-accused Mbatha. He is alleged to have offered to pay a prisoner to murder Mbatha in jail. The court granted Manilall bail of R1 000 on the conspiracy charge.

The conspiracy to murder charge is set to be heard on July 24. The murder trial is set to resume on September 15.

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