Man 'haunted to confess'

2004-02-09 12:11

Nelspruit - A killer who surrendered to police after claiming he was being haunted by his victim's ghosts, has been jailed.

John Nkuna, 19, of Tsuvulani village outside Thulamahashe in Limpopo will spend 15 years behind bars for dousing Bob Ruel Baloyi, 28, in 15 litres of petrol and setting him alight. Baloyi was the younger brother of the head of the Limpopo police's organised crime unit, Superintendent Joseph Baloyi.

Nkuna repeatedly mumbled, 'But I did not kill Bob', while listening to damning testimony in the Nelspruit circuit of the Pretoria High Court last week. Mhala police detective inspector Dyk Mathebula told the court he believed Baloyi was murdered for money, because cash he'd borrowed from a money lender had gone missing. Nkuna himself failed to give the court any motive for the murder.

Instead, he spoke mostly in broken sentences when questioned.

He pleaded not guilty to killing Baloyi, but the court used the confession he made to police to convict him.

He confessed that he and two friends kidnapped Baloyi on July 25, 2002, tied him up with pieces of cloth and beat him up in a veld between Tsuvulani and New Forest villages. He also confessed that they poured 15 litres of petrol over Baloyi's body and set him alight.

Baloyi's charred remains were found by a cattle herder who alerted the police.

Nkuna was arrested with two others, Lucky Ngobeni, 23, and a 16-year-old minor.Ngobeni was found not guilty because the state had insufficient evidence against him, while charges were withdrawn against the teenager last year. Nkuna, a student at Orhovelani high school in Thulamahashe, had initially fled to Hillbrow to try escape the Baloyi's alleged ghost but later shocked the Baloyi family when he approached them with information that he was involved in the murder.

He told the family and later confessed to a magistrate that he heard Baloyi's eerie voice every night saying "Just tell my family that you are the one who murdered me and you'll start sleeping in peace, or you'll follow me."

Nkuna's cellphone was found at the murder scene.

] Baloyi's brother, Superintendent Joseph Baloyi, said he was concerned that only one of the suspects was found guilty. "I'm a responsible citizen who abides by the law and respects the courts, but I'm convinced that other people responsible for my brother's death are still roaming the streets," he said. "I just want to forget about the incident and get on with my life."