Metro cop found guitly of murdering girlfriend

2015-02-18 20:58
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Pretoria - A Tshwane metro police constable accused of strangling his girlfriend and burning her body was found guilty of murder by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Judge Mmonoa Teffo rejected 29-year-old Lloyd Morutse Maleswena's claim that his girlfriend Claudia Rapudi's death had been an "accident", and found that he had the intention to kill her.

Rapudi and Maleswena were both metro police constables and worked together.

Her charred remains were found in the boot of her burnt-out car in dense bushes next to the Cullinan road on 2 November 2011.

Police had to use DNA tests to confirm her identity.

She had disappeared from her parents' Pretoria West home after telling them she was going to work.

Her car was last seen in the garage of Maleswena's home in Lotus Gardens hours before her body was found.

Maleswena was arrested after making a confession about the murder to a priest at the Zion Christian Church (ZCC).

His conviction follows a second trial on the same charges after another judge in 2013 declared a mistrial.

This was because Maleswena's right to a fair trial had been compromised by an alleged incompetent advocate.

Maleswena admitted in a statement that he had strangled Rapudi after a quarrel.

He said he had confronted her about his suspicion that she was seeing another man and a heated argument ensued when she denied it.

He said in the statement he had grabbed her by her throat with both hands until she lost consciousness, before locking the house and going to work.

He panicked when he found her body on his return, put the body in the boot of her car and drove to a secluded place where he set the car alight.

'She died after falling off the bed'

During his evidence Maleswena, however, claimed Rapudi had died accidentally after falling off a bed.

A pathologist testified that Rapudi had died of third degree burns to her body.

Judge Teffo rejected Maleswena's claim of an accident.

She said he had foreseen that Rapudi could die when he throttled her and there was a possibility that he had burnt her body because he wanted to make sure she was dead.

Rapudi's cousin, Clevio Rapudi, testified that the family had been traumatised by her death.

The health of her grieving parents had deteriorated, especially after having to view their daughter's charred remains.

Clevio said he had not been aware of his cousin's relationship with Maleswena.

He met the accused for the first time at his uncle's house while the family was preparing for the funeral.

He remembered saying to Maleswena he was sure that as a colleague he also wanted to find out who had killed Claudia and Maleswena confirmed this.

Counsel for the defence argued that Maleswena had shown remorse and should not be sentenced to more than 12 years imprisonment, while the State argued for a sentence of more than 15 years.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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