Accused's DNA not found on jersey used to strangle toddler

2015-05-12 19:19
Nathaniel Mpoku hides his face in court. (Adam Wakefiled, News24)

Nathaniel Mpoku hides his face in court. (Adam Wakefiled, News24)

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Johannesburg - The DNA of murder and kidnapping accused Nathaniel Katlego Mpoku was not found on the jersey used to strangle toddler Cuburne van Wyk, a Johannesburg court heard on Tuesday.

Mpoku, also known as "Chicken", is accused of kidnapping and killing Cuburne in an informal settlement in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, in August last year. The toddler disappeared on August 6 while playing outside with his siblings.

His body was discovered by a passer-by at a mine dump in Reiger Park three days later.

Investigating officer Captain Phillip Radebe, testifying at the High Court in Johannesburg sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, said that three DNA swabs were taken from the crime scene.

One was from Cuburne's parents so that the toddler could be identified, the second was from Mpoku, and the third from the jersey found with Cuburne at the time his body was discovered on August 9. 

Judge George Maluleke asked Radebe about the results of the DNA taken.

These included DNA on a rock found on Cuburne's head at the time his body was found.

"When the rock was swabbed there was no foreign DNA, which means whatever we found [find] there, that DNA matched the DNA of the deceased," the police captain said.

"We took something from the accused person and wanted to link it with something we found on the rock and the one we found on that sweater."

Maluleke said he was "curious to know" whether the jersey had Cuburne's DNA on it or that of anyone else's.

"The DNA that was found on the sweater was matched with the DNA of the deceased. There was no foreign DNA, of the accused, or any other person," Radebe said.

Burnt alive

Earlier, forensic pathologist Dr Akmal Khan told the court that Cuburne died as a result of both strangulation and being burnt alive.

Haemorrhages to the muscles around the neck, ligature marks to the neck caused by the jersey, and haemorrhages to the saliva glands just underneath Cuburne's jaw were found by Khan during his autopsy.

These injuries, combined with the burn injuries and black soot found in Cuburne's airways, pointed to him suffering from both forms of death.

It emerged that Radebe had to go back to where the toddler's body was found on August 14 so photos and additional exhibits could be taken.

Radebe told the court that when the case was handed to him on August 11, he saw that more investigation was required.

He requested that a fellow police officer accompany him to the scene so that additional pictures and swabs could be taken.

Prosecutor Annemarie Smith asked him: "From your investigation and from what you learnt through the investigation, the exhibits were not dealt with at the scene on the 9th of August, is that correct?"

Radebe replied: "Yes it is so... There were some exhibits that were still left at the place of the incident which I think [the officer] was supposed to take," Radebe said.

Maluleke then asked: "So you saying there were many exhibits which you would've expected police officers to lift from the crime scene?"

"Yes," Radebe replied.

The case was postponed to Thursday so that the officer who first took the exhibits at the scene could testify.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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