News24

Sugarcane killer: Release her

2010-03-02 17:06

Durban - The so-called sugarcane serial killer suspect asked the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Tuesday to release his girlfriend who is also his co-accused.

"It is clear that this case is against me - please release my co-accused either on bail or any other way. The proposed date [for the trial to continue] is far and my co-accused has children to look after," said Thozamile Taki.

Taki, who was arrested in September 2007, is accused of killing 13 women and dumping their bodies in sugarcane plantations in Umzinto and tea plantations in Port St Johns.

Taki also faces 13 counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Taki's girlfriend, Hlengiwe Nene, was charged as an accessory to the 13 robberies.

Judge King Ndlovu said he understood why Taki would want Nene to be released because they were living together before their arrests.

"I am not going to fault you on your request because when you were arrested you were living together as man and woman," said Ndlovu.

However, Ndlovu said the request should be made by Nene's lawyer in a separate application.

Injured suspect

"I don't know whether the prosecutor would agree or object. If the prosecutor didn't have objections to accused number two [Nene] being released, the submission would have been done long ago," Ndlovu said.

Taki, who was dressed in black and attended the court proceedings in a wheel chair, raised his hand each time he had a question or a request for the court.

Last month, Taki was injured while trying to escape with eight other prisoners who broke the roof of their cell. He fell from the fourth floor at Westville Prison.

Police reported that all eight others managed to escape but Taki was admitted to hospital under police guard.

The escapees used a car to flee and are still on the run.

Last week, the court adjourned the matter because Taki was in hospital and it was not clear when he would recover.

Taki questioned the judge as to why his matter was being postponed and asked that a Xhosa interpreter be called in as he did not understand IsiZulu properly.

'The problem'

"Was this matter being postponed because of the problem I encountered or was it going to be postponed anyway?," Taki asked.

Ndlovu said the matter was scheduled to be heard from the January 25 to February 26.

"When it was adjourned on Monday it was because of you. Five days were lost because of your problem. I cannot say how many people we were going to call and cannot say how far we would have gone," Ndlovu said.

After the judge indicated that it was because of his escape attempt that the case was adjourned last week, Taki put his hand over his face and bowed his head.

Ndlovu made it clear to Taki that everybody wanted this matter to be completed. He said he did not know how long the trial would take.

"If this trial is started by me it needs to be finished by me. It is in the interest of everybody that this matter is concluded," Ndlovu said.

He said it was difficult to find a court date because he was busy with other cases as well.

Ndlovu postponed the case until April 30 for a trial date to be set.