Nun slaying: Killer's first victim was robbed

2015-05-14 18:31
Mondli Shozi and Sibongiseni Phungula crouch down to avoid being photographed as they make their way to the cells after being found guilty of killing Ixopo nun Sister Gertrud Tiefenbacher, 87.

Mondli Shozi and Sibongiseni Phungula crouch down to avoid being photographed as they make their way to the cells after being found guilty of killing Ixopo nun Sister Gertrud Tiefenbacher, 87. (Jonathan Burton)

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Durban - A 12-year-old girl unwittingly had a terrifyingly close encounter last year with Mondli Michael Shozi, 26, one of the men convicted for the robbery, rape and brutal slaying of Catholic nun Gertud Tiefenbacher.

Thembelihle Tsengase had been asleep in her bed when Shozi snuck into her Ixopo home in March 2014.

Thembelihle never woke up while Shozi grabbed anything of value.

Shozi was convicted on charges of house breaking. He was given a six-month suspended sentence and released.

Thembelihle's mother Judith, a teacher, said she was shaken knowing that her daughter had been asleep in the same room with the man who, a year later, would brutally rape and murder Tiefenbacher in the Sacred Heart Convent just a stone’s throw from where he had committed his first robbery.

“We thank God that we are still alive today. Now that he has been caught for this, I hope he rots in jail. This man is a danger to society,” Tsengase said.

“Had he been made to serve time in prison [for the robbery] then she [Tiefenbacher] could still be alive today.”

The teacher said she had been away from her home for no more than ten minutes before Shozi broke in.

“I shudder at the thought of what could have happened to my daughter if I had been gone for any longer. She was sleeping and he could have raped her if I hadn't come back,” she said.

Tsengase said their ordeal started when she returned late from work one evening.

“At around 19:00 one night last year my son and I arrived home and I went inside while he took the car to attend night classes.”

“I checked on my daughter who was asleep in her room and then I left to go and fetch something from my neighbour. I couldn’t have been gone for longer than ten minutes and when I came back my front door was open and I remembered closing it,” she said.

“As I was walking towards the door I saw a shadow pass near a caravan in my garden and when I went inside I found that my house had been turned upside down. I shouted inside the house to see if anyone was there and then I rushed inside to check on my daughter.”

The fridge was open and ransacked and a laptop was missing. Her handbag had been emptied onto the floor. Even her father’s antique guitar had been taken.

Shozi had apparently taken the laptop, marked with the name of Tsengase’s school, to a local cell-phone dealer and asked if a technician could bypass the password protection software. The technician, sensing something was amiss, told Shozi to return with the laptop the following day. He alerted the police and a trap was laid.

“In court he admitted that he knew our every move and had been studying our routine. He said he even cut the grass once at my home,” said Tsengase.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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