Murder accused cop referred for mental observation

2015-05-22 11:05

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A FORMER Pietermaritzburg officer who pleaded guilty to shooting dead her ex-lover, also an officer, in March last year is being referred for mental observation.

State advocate Candy Kander yesterday told Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati that neither a psychologist nor a probation officer have been able to obtain coherent information from the woman, Tembelihle Ngcobo, during interviews that are intended to help the court decide on a suitable sentence.

Ngcobo (32) pleaded guilty in December last year to shooting Bongani Lembethe several times with her service pistol outside his home in Prestbury. She said the shooting was the result of an “emotional storm” caused by their relationship problems.

The court was told the couple had met and began an on-off affair while they were both employed at the SAPS Tactical Response Unit.

At the time of the shooting on March 3 last year, Ngcobo was pregnant, but Lembethe allegedly turned his back on the relationship and did not want Ngcobo to have contact with his family.

The court ordered that pre-sentencing reports be obtained and had adjourned the case until February 27 this year.

However, on that occasion Ngcobo did not appear and her attorney handed the court a medical certificate indicating she was unfit for court and was suffering from mood disorders, psychosis and post traumatic stress disorder.

The case was thereafter again postponed.

Kander told Poyo-Dlwati yesterday that since then several appointments were made for Ngcobo to be interviewed by a probation officer and psychologist.

Even though she did attend some of these appointments, both experts reported that they have encountered difficulty getting information from Ngcobo to help them to complete their reports.

According to the probation officer, Ngcobo displayed “inappropriate behaviour” during interviews and the psychologist reported that she was unable to get any constructive information out of her.

Both Kander and defence attorney Siyabonga Kunene agreed that it was in the interests of justice for Ngcobo to be referred for a period of mental ­observation at Fort Napier Hospital.

While Kunene suggested that Ngcobo’s difficulty was “not deliberate” but was due to ill health, Kander said the aim of the observation period will be to establish if Ngcobo is genuinely suffering from mental illness, or is simply hindering the sentencing process.

The case was postponed until July 17, on which date arrangements for ­Ngcobo to be admitted to Fort Napier hospital will be finalised

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