Mom's contract killers jailed

2002-04-12 12:56

Scottburgh - Police say Martin Radloff was, and still is, a suspect in the contract killing of his former wife, Rina (51), who was stabbed to death in September 1999.

Two of the hired killers were sentenced in the High Court here on Thursday.

Mlungisi Mzimela (23) and a 17-year-old youth, both from Umgababa, were jailed for life and 18 years, respectively.

Acting Judge Pingla Hemraj said she expected the search to continue for the "evasive white man in a Mercedes-Benz" who came to light in testimony.

She described the September 1999 murder of Rina Radloff (51), a well-known Scottburgh businesswoman, "for a pitiful R200 to R350" as one of the most gruesome she had encountered.

The third murderer, Sifiso Cele (18), received indemnity from prosecution after he testified for the State.

The court heard that Antoinette Radloff (35) - who at that stage was married to the Rina's ex-husband - went to collect the three hired killers from Umgababa after promising them work.

Rina Radloff heard a knock at her front door that afternoon and opened it to have Mzimela grab her and stab her repeatedly in the throat.

Rina's domestic worker came to her aid after Mzimela had left and tried in vain to stem the bleeding. Rina died in her study from loss of blood, but not before she whispered: "There is a white man in the house".

Wife No 2 committed suicide in jail

The court also heard testimony that a white man in a Mercedes Benz was seen near the convicted killers' houses in Umgababa shortly before their arrest in October 2000, and that Rina's former husband, Martin Radloff, owned a green Mercedes.

Radloff testified that he drove to Durban from Johannesburg on the day of the murder.

Antoinette Radloff committed suicide in prison a few months after the guilty parties were arrested.

Investigating officer Captain Theo Goldstone said Martin Radloff was, and still is, a suspect in the murder plot, which is still being investigated.

Ivan Swanepoel - Rina's son, who has helped police with their investigations for the past two years - said he would not rest until the mastermind behind the plot was brought to justice.

Outside court on Thursday, the father of the convicted youth was outraged: "How could that evil woman [Antoinette Radloff], who is also a mother, get children involved in a hired killing?"

The youth was 15 at the time of the murder.