Fifth 'cannibal' suspect appears in court earlier than expected

2017-08-24 14:29
The fifth suspect in the "cannibalism" case appeared briefly at the Estcourt Magistrate's Court. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

The fifth suspect in the "cannibalism" case appeared briefly at the Estcourt Magistrate's Court. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - The fifth suspect in the "cannibalism" case appeared briefly at the Estcourt Magistrate's Court on Wednesday afternoon, a court official said on Thursday.

Khayelihle Lamula, 32, of Esigodlweni area in Estcourt, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit murder and a murder charge.

The media had been told by the police's provincial communications office that he would appear on Thursday, but when they arrived in court they were told that Lamula appeared the previous day.

Also read: Fifth alleged KZN 'cannibal' due in court

Lamula, who was arrested on Tuesday night, appeared before Magistrate Arti Sookraj.

He was remanded in custody until Monday, August 28, for a formal bail application.

He will appear together with his co-accused - traditional healer Nino Mbatha, 32, Sthembiso Sithole, 31, Lindokuhle Masondo, 32, and Lungisani Magubane, 30, who were arrested last Friday after Mbatha confessed to police that he had ate human flesh.

He allegedly walked  into the station with human body parts and "confessed to eating human flesh".

All five of them are accused of the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo, 25, on August 18 at Rensburg Drift, Estcourt.

A court official, who is not allowed to speak to the media, told News24 that Mbatha is kept at the Pietermaritzburg holding cells because "he wants to confess to both the charges against him".

"He is being kept away from others for his own safety," the official said.

The others are in custody at Estcourt.

The official said they are anticipating a protest outside court on Monday.

"Residents of Esigodlweni are planning to oppose bail in the matter," said the official.

Security would be beefed up.

"Security guards from our head office in Pietermaritzburg will be deployed outside court," the official said.

Hundreds of residents were outside court when Mbatha and the co-accused made their first appearance in court on Monday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  courts  |  crime

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