Man confesses to WWII fighter pilot's murder

2012-04-10 20:26

Pretoria - A 37-year-old man told the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday that he had taken part in the violent murder and robbery of an elderly World War II fighter pilot.

He said he was living on the streets, and was "desperate for an income".

Judge Cynthia Pretorius found Albert Mothiba guilty of murdering Monument Park pensioner Frans Swemmer, 89, and robbing him of his car, cellphone and household goods.

Mothiba, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was earlier sent for mental observation but was found fit to stand trial.

His co-accused David Maluleka pleaded not guilty to the charges. Maluleka's trial was separated from Mothiba's and was postponed to 25 September.

Swemmer, who survived World War II and the Korean War as a fighter pilot for the South African Air Force, was found in a pool of blood in his house after apparently being dragged there from his garage.

His girlfriend and a neighbour found his body the next day after the neighbour repeatedly phoned a security company because she was worried that Swemmer's garage was open. His car was not there, but the neighbour was told that nothing was amiss.


Mothiba said in a statement he knew Maluleka was a robber and had agreed to help him with a "job" because he basically lived on the street and was desperate for some form of income.

He said it was Maluleka's idea to go to Swemmer's house, but they left after Maluleka took beer and wine out of the garage, as Swemmer was not home.

They went to a park to drink, where they were joined by a third man, Pascal Maremane.

Maluleka and Maremane left, but returned after a while and told him that Swemmer had returned home.

Maluleka suggested that they should return to the house.

He appeared to know Swemmer, because he said the owner had a lot of money in the house.

Mothiba said he waited outside the house while the other two men went in. After a while, Maluleka came out of the garage. He had a hammer in his hand and his clothes were smeared with blood.

Maluleka opened the gate for him and when he went into the garage, he saw the elderly homeowner lying next to the car in a pool of blood.

Assaulted with a hammer

Maremane was assaulting the man with a hammer and he could see that the man was seriously injured.

According to Mothiba, Maluleka invited him to kick the victim, whereupon he kicked Swemmer twice in the chest.

The other two then pulled Swemmer into the house before they ransacked the house.

Mothiba admitted that he had taken part in the robbery knowing that the owner could be killed and had reconciled himself to what the others did, although he did not take part in the initial assault on Swemmer.

He said he had foreseen that kicking Swemmer could hasten his death and he had accepted that the elderly victim was already dying at that stage.

Mothiba was arrested in Hammanskraal while driving Swemmer's car.

He made a full confession and also pointed out Maluleka to the police.

He told the court he was willing to testify against Maluleka.

Mothiba's trial was postponed to 29 May for sentencing proceedings.

  • Bibi - 2012-04-10 20:32

    Ever heard of a soup kitchen/church or a homeless shelter for food/bed? Why a defenseless old man?

  • Geronimo - 2012-04-10 20:39

    Execute them. Then quarter them and put their body parts on display in all 4 corners of this country as a deterrent to other would be cowards. They chose an old man. A soft target. A man who has given much to his country in previous wars. RIP Swemmer.

  • EricksonTL - 2012-04-10 20:43

    It's times like these when you sort of wish all those South Africans that served in the army, the airforce and the navy back then, and who helped stop the Nazis, had just let Hitler's idiot forces ravage the country. The man was a war hero, for pete's sake, and these oxygen thieves treat him like that? I hope they rot in jail.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-04-11 08:29

      The uninformed who keep ranting that the whites must leave forget the sacrifice our men made to secure the safety of South Africa and its people. Various wars have taken THREE generations of our men - it seems they died in vain - their sacrifices are not even recognized.

      jantje.hartslief - 2012-06-08 09:38

      The death sentence must come back, they must be executed. Jailtime too easy

  • Debbie - 2012-04-10 20:47

    Absolutely disgusting - beyond comprehension. Survives 2 wars only to be brutally murdered in the country he served so well.

  • Hermann - 2012-04-10 20:57

    Bring back the noose.

      Anthony - 2012-04-10 21:44

      I prefer the guillotine.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-04-11 08:25

      Way too quick. And someone has to clean up the mess afterwards... But maybe the next in lone should do that!

  • Alta - 2012-04-10 21:17

    Do to them, what they did to Mr Swemmer.

  • Vaughn - 2012-04-10 21:18

    Such a Brave man to die at the hands of cowards . RIP Swemmer and may you walk in the LEGION of Heros for eternity. Hope you cowards get what is due to you.

  • Nicholas - 2012-04-10 21:48

    He was sent for mental observation and found fit to stand trial. One would expect someone who does this kind of thing to be mentally disturbed. What is shocking is that he is not mentally disturbed.

      Emily-Jane Elson - 2012-04-10 22:54

      If he was found mentally disturbed he'd have an excuse to get away with what he did - insanity. He is not mental. Just pure, disgusting rotten evil.

      Nicholas - 2012-04-11 08:43

      My point exactly

      drishworth - 2012-04-11 09:16

      @Nicholas, I agree with you - I'm disturbed by the fact that these criminals are not mentally disturbed. When one looks at the volume of murders and the violence with which they are carried out it is incomprehensible to belieive that 90% of the perpetrators are 'normal'. It is a sad indictment on South African society that we as 'normal' people can behave in such a savage manner - if such murders were isolated incidents one could perhaps get their minds around it but this is a daily occurrence. We could enter into firey debate as to whether these crimes are a result of racial hatred, due to psychologiacl damage as a result of apartheid or simply that there is a genetic predispositon to being destructive. Whatever the reason, it is tragic that we as South Africans have almost been conditioned to believe that such savagery is 'normal'.

  • Steve - 2012-04-10 21:55

    I knew Frans fairly well, he was one of the first to volunteer information and assistance with books I wrote on the SAAF. Despite being decorated for his wartime services, a more humble and gentle individual you would struggle to find. That someone who willingly put his own life on the line not once, but twice, for the greater good should meet his end being beaten to death with a hammer as an 89-year old defenceless individual is sickening in the extreme. If there is a hell I hope these three spend eternity tortured in it's confines. This scum does not deserve a place amongst the rest of society. May their stint on this mortal coil be as violent, slow and horrific as that they saw fit to inflict upon Swemmer. As they saw fit to dispense, may they receive.

      rosiegracebrooks - 2012-04-10 22:04

      I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and for his family. This heinous act is an outrage.

      Spyker - 2012-04-10 22:57

      Steve, I was sickened beyond civilised articulation and I expressed my sentiments accordingly - hence my post was removed. I wish I could express in a civilised manner, the rage I feel in the face of the fact, honest hardworking people's tax revenue will be feeding this biological waste.

      Mike - 2012-04-11 08:50

      Steve Im truly sorry for your loss and the families loss, i think i speak for a number of people when requesting some history about Mr Swemmer, what he flew, where etc, lets not let a legend die at the hands of cowards, but let him die a hero like he is.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-04-10 22:00

    The "I was hungry, living on the streets" defence CANNOT morph into a rationalisation for murder. We may not ever see the death penalty again but we INSIST that these psycopathic beings be removed from society forever. You can never 'fix' a person once they've consciously crossed that line

  • Jacques - 2012-04-10 22:56

    May you RIP, your life speaks of a dignity that your passing lacks. Savage bastards should all hang!

  • Philip - 2012-04-11 01:24

    All i can say is AIDS isnt spreading fast enough...

  • Alan - 2012-04-11 06:23

    "DEATH PENALTY" for these cowardly c..ts !

  • Guy - 2012-04-11 07:51

    This is what happens when the government removes the death penalty because "criminals have rights." Mr Swemmer had the right to live but these men took that right away from him knowing full well what they were doing. They should have that same right taken from them too.

  • Elize - 2012-04-11 07:55

    Is it not of consequence that not one "comrade" finds this terrible barbaric act against humanity, killing a 89 year old, nauseating enough to comment?

      Clay - 2012-04-11 08:02

      By 'comrade' do you mean black people? I find your comment as nauseating as the story itself.

      Rob - 2012-04-11 08:48

      Wake up Clay. It is what it is. Yet another brutal murder of an elderly white person by black males. I dont see white unemployed going round stealing & killing blacks. The time for " bleeding heart " liberals are over. The black on white killing in the name of crime must be highlighted & stop. This cannot be allowed to continue. If they want to steal & kill each other so be it, but they must leave whites alone and it is racially motivated.

      JJ - 2012-04-11 13:26

      Funny you say that Elize,I read a story about a black farmer killed and guess what...0 comments. But thanks for making it a racial issue, you twat!! What these men did was wrong, it isn't about race.

  • AntonKingsize - 2012-04-11 08:09

    He said he was living on the streets, and was "desperate for an income"!!!. . . . get a job? Go to a homeless shelter? or kill someone old, frail and defenseless? Jail for life!! You do not belong in free society!!

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-11 08:33

    If the government stopped stealing public funds and provided as it should for South Africa's people, there would be less crime. Why is the government permitted to continue with their arrogant, dishonest, thieving ways? Let's have some answers.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-11 08:35

    The public sees the government thieving public funds and pardoning those who have been caught with fingers in the cookie jar - is it any wonder the crime rate is so high? Look at the role models ...

  • Westvaal - 2012-04-11 09:37

    He survives two devastating wars and gets killed in a country where crime is our number one sport! Go S.A!

  • j.c.s.mailbox - 2012-04-12 20:10

    These kind of murders are always inspired by S.A.jurisdicial system were these horrendous acts are treated as just normal light offences. And of course of the abbolishments of the death penalty. As long as the victim is a white person they have nothing to fear....the new south africa that never gets old....

  • jantje.hartslief - 2012-06-08 09:39

    The death sentence must come back and they must be executed. Jailtime too easy

  • Richard Alberts - 2014-10-20 20:12

    This is an animal, not a man as claimed!! Thus revealing the problem with self-entitlement as encouraged, no doubt, by this dog's political party!

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