Court told of abuse by cop

2019-08-29 16:30
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When a policeman found out that his girlfriend had told people of the emotional and physical abuse she endured at his hands, he lost it.

Sboniso Mtungwa, who is attached to the Public Order Policing Unit, allegedly punched her and used an electric heater to burn her buttocks.

But this was not enough, the abuse continued and early this month he allegedly tried to kill her.

Mtungwa is now behind bars, fighting to be released. on Wednesday, a formal bail application was held in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, which continues ton Thursday.

Prosecutor Renee Padayachee is vigorously opposing bail, fearing Mtungwa will kill the woman, also a police officer, given another chance.

She is not being named to protect her emotional state.

In support of the state’s case, Padayachee read out a statement by the investigating officer, Sicelo Lethela.

He said that Mtungwa committed the latest offence despite having two pending cases against him, opened by the same woman. There is also a protection order against him for abusing her and her family members.

Lethela said that in January last year, Mtungwa tried to call the woman but she did not pick up her cellphone. He went to her house in the Sweetwaters area in the middle of the night and demanded she hand over her phone.

“He took the cellphone and started paging [through] it and the WhatsApp messages. He discovered that she had told her colleagues that he was abusing her emotionally and physically.

“He then became angry and asked her why she was telling people about their issues. He started assaulting her by punching her all over her body. He further used an electric heater and burnt her both buttocks severely. She sustained swollen eyes, bruises to her back, extensive burn wounds on her buttocks and swollen lips,” he said.

She only opened a charge against him in April this year. Mtungwa has been summoned to appear in court in September, charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

In February, he went to her house and met her mother, demanding to see her.

“He was aggressive and in possession of a firearm which was kept under his arm at the time,” said Lethela.

The family subsequently obtained a protection order against him.

Two weeks later, he stole her car keys and left her stranded at the Southgate Spar. Lethela said that this was not the first time he had done something like this. She had to hire a tow truck to get her vehicle home.

She charged him with theft and the case has been set down for trial.

On August 11, at about 2 am, he tried to murder her at home.

Lethela said the woman was awoken by what she thought was someone throwing stones on her roof. She peeped through her bedroom window and saw Mtungwa running from her gate into a car. She went back to sleep.

The next morning she discovered a bullet hole on the wall facing her bedroom window. She also found a bullet in the room. On inspecting the room, she found a bullet hole through her bedroom window, and a bullet mark above the window frame and on the right hand side of the same window.

“She then realised that the odd sounds she had heard at night were actually gunshots,” he said.

Spent cartridges were found by the gate where she had seen him leaving.

Lethela said Mtungwa has shown that he disregards the law which he is supposed to be upholding as a police officer. “He seems relentless in his unlawful conduct directed at a defenceless woman … cases of police officials fatally shooting their partners are highly prevalent in our society.

“The court has a duty to prevent [this] from happening in this matter by keeping the accused in custody until his date of trial,” he said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police brutality
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