Final arrests in Soliks’ murders

2017-03-27 14:32
Some of the recovered items found in the possession of the three men arrested on the weekend. It is believed the items stolen from the Solik's home was sold in Haza Location near Mpophomeni. INSET: The murdered Nottingham Road couple Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik.

Some of the recovered items found in the possession of the three men arrested on the weekend. It is believed the items stolen from the Solik's home was sold in Haza Location near Mpophomeni. INSET: The murdered Nottingham Road couple Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik. (Supplied)

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THREE men are expected to appear in court in Howick on Monday, in connection with the murders of Christine and Roger Solik of The Bend estate in Nottingham Road.

This follows intense investigations by the Nottingham Road police and the Combined Action Team (CAT) that led to what could be the final arrests for the murders of the couple.

The three men, aged between 31 and 42, were arrested during a gruelling 15-hour operation that led police from the streets of Umlazi to homes in rural Impendle.

The first of the four suspects, Thulani Mthembu (43), was arrested earlier this month and charged with two counts of murder, two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances as well as two counts of kidnapping in the Solik case.

The couple were kidnapped from their plush estate home in the Midlands in the early hours of Friday, February 17.

Christine was found dead later that day, in the Lower Lotheni River with her hands and feet bound with wire and her face covered with a pillow case.

Roger, who was suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease, was found two days later, two kilometres down river from where his wife was found.

Roger’s hands and feet were also bound and his head had also been covered with a pillow case.

The case left police and members of CAT with many sleepless nights.

“Honestly we were all relieved when the final arrest happened,” said Captain Reno Dayaram from CAT, on Sunday.

The first arrest on Friday night was made in the pouring rain at around 11.30 pm in Umlazi Section C. Nottingham Road investigating officer Detective Warrant Officer Sikhumbuzo Mdunge led the team to the area after receiving information that a suspect was there.

The man was found sleeping in a shack at the back of an nyanga’s house.

“CAT was called to assist Nottingham Road police in Umlazi. We followed information from the suspect’s relative’s home to his girlfriend’s home and after questioning, we were told to look for an nyanga who the suspect was drinking with earlier on in the evening.

“After what felt like a walk across all of Umlazi in the rain, we found the nyanga, who took us to his home where the suspect was sleeping in a shack at the back,” said Dayaram.

He said the arrested suspect was extremely co-operative and told them that the remaining suspects were at their homes in Impendle.

So, after a long drive to the rural area, at around 2.30 am on Saturday morning, the second suspect was arrested.

He was found sleeping alone in his home where he also operates a tuck shop business.

Police and CAT recovered a police badge, foreign currency and a can of pepper spray.

A firearm, that was kept under his mattress, was also recovered from his home.

With two suspects arrested so far, the officers were directed to the final suspect’s home, which was also in Impendle. The final suspect was also found sleeping alone in his home, and another firearm was recovered there.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said one of the recovered firearms was reported stolen in Orlando, Gauteng.

“The confiscated firearms will be subjected for ballistic testing to determine if they were used in the commission of [other] crime in the country,” he said.

Dayaram said after questioning, the men said they had sold the items stolen from the Solik house to people living in the Haza location near Mpophomeni.

The suspects who were arrested in Impendle lived within 100 metres of the river in which the Soliks’ bodies were found.

It is believed the suspects have previous convictions, but police said this would be confirmed during their court appearances.

The three men who were arrested are expected to appear in the Howick Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The KwaZulu-Natal acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Bheki Langa, welcomed the arrests and applauded the officers for their perseverance.

“We’re delighted that the criminals who believed that they will break the law and hide are now arrested. We will ensure that the suspects are successfully prosecuted,” Langa said.

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