Violent suspect escapes from court

2013-12-31 00:00

A DANGEROUS man suspected of killing a farmer and assaulting a prison warder with a chair is on the loose after escaping from police custody at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.

Police said yesterday that Sthembiso Vincent Shabalala, accused of killing farmer Rob Menzies Anderson at Little Harmony Farm at Richmond last year, escaped from the court cells when he was taken there for a court appearance on December 2.

Shabalala is also accused of robbing Anderson of his vehicle.

Police spokesperson captain Thulani Zwane said court officials were doing a headcount of prisoners who were remanded back in custody after their appearance in court, “when they noticed that Shabalala was nowhere to be found”.

It is believed that he escaped from the building after his court appearance. A warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Zwane added that Shabalala is believed to be from Highflats area near Ixopo.

“He is known to be dangerous and is possibly armed, so people are warned not to approach him.”

Shabalala allegedly shot and killed 39-year-old Anderson and robbed him of his Isuzu bakkie at his farm in August last year.

While in custody for the murder, it’s alleged that on January 7 he assaulted a prison warder Nko Njoko (36) with a chair at the New Prison in Pietermaritzburg.

Njoko sustained fractures to his right arm and for this, Shabalala was also charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Koos Marais of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union said Shabalala was a threat to society.

“We are very disappointed about the escape of this man.

“This will pose a serious threat to anyone and even the witnesses in the case, that come to contact with him,” said Marais.

Anyone with information should contact Pietermaritzburg station commander Brigadier Johan Reynders immediately on 082 552 1525 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

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