Wife ‘left fearful Griffiths with no food or money’

2012-02-03 00:00

THE high court heard yesterday that Richards Bay man Allan Griffiths (60) “feared for his life” and called his sister for help weeks after he had married murder accused Thenjiwe Griffiths in April 2005.

Thenjiwe (29) has pleaded not guilty to charges that she staged her late husband’s hijacking and murder near Colenso in January 2006.

Carolyn Riddle testified that she drove to Richards Bay on June 6, 2005, and found her brother — who was an alcoholic and bipolar sufferer — in a “very unhappy place” physically and emotionally.

There was no sign of his new wife, there was no food for him and his two spaniel dogs, he had no car, wallet or money and no identity document. Thenjiwe had taken them with her and gone to Gauteng, Riddle told Judge Rishi Seegobin and assessors.

She said there were two women living in the house with her brother who were described as his new wife’s “cousins”.

Carolyn Riddle broke down in tears yesterday while giving evidence about her brother and a new will she had helped him write on a subsequent occasion, because he’d wanted his three children to inherit his estate, she said.

The court adjourned early to allow her to compose herself and to get relief from the stifling heat in the courtroom after the air-conditioning system had stopped working. The judge described the conditions in which the court was expected to operate as “a disgrace”.

Riddle said she had received other telephone calls from her brother before his “call for help” in which he’d mentioned that he had done something “he thought was a mistake”.

On her arrival at Richards Bay Riddle said she took her brother shopping for groceries and dog food and to see attorney Connie Marais to discuss divorcing his wife and to obtain a restraining order against her.

“He feared for his life,” she said when asked by state advocate Dorian Paver why her brother had needed a restraining order.

She confirmed evidence by Marais that her brother’s arm was bandaged that day and he had a “problem” with it.

After talking to Marais and making another appointment, she had accompanied her brother to the Empangeni Magistrate’s Court and applied for a court order aimed at removing the people staying in his house.

Riddle said she had to write out the forms because her brother’s hand was shaking. But he had been sober and “knew what was going on” at all times.

Judge Seegobin earlier yesterday ruled that evidence by Marais and other evidence that the defence had objected to because it was hearsay would be admitted provisionally in the interests of justice.

The case is proceeding.

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