Hitmen, an affair and a fake robbery: How ANC councillor allegedly masterminded her soldier husband's murder

2018-01-23 21:15
ANC proportional representative councillor Magdaleen "Maggie" Titus, accused of murdering her husband Preston Titus. (Image via Facebook)

ANC proportional representative councillor Magdaleen "Maggie" Titus, accused of murdering her husband Preston Titus. (Image via Facebook)

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Cape Town – An ANC councillor has been painted as the mastermind in her husband's murder after her former driver and co-accused named her as the one who ordered a hit on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier.

Magdaleen Titus made her first appearance in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate's Court on Monday, accused of killing Preston Titus in their military home last year.

Magdaleen – or "Maggie", as she is known – and her friend Natasha Stuurman were both arrested on Friday. This was the same day that the councillor's former driver Sixabiso Klip, 23, was sentenced after entering into a plea bargain with the State.

Klip was handed 15 years for the murder and two years for possession of a dangerous weapon.

READ: ANC councillor arrested for Oudtshoorn SANDF member's murder

Preston's body was found in his Florida Avenue house in Oudtshoorn on December 1. The staff sergeant had stab wounds to his head and right arm.

He was found dead after his daughter returned home, following an evening out with friends.

She could not attract her father's attention when she wanted to be let in, even after phoning him.

Hitmen, an affair and a fake robbery

Her mother eventually opened the door and they found the 47-year-old's body in his bedroom.

At the time, no evidence of forced entry could be found and only two tablet devices and a gold wrist watch were reported missing.

Klip, in his plea and sentencing agreement, painted a sordid picture involving hitmen, an affair and a fake robbery which led to Preston's murder.

He said he had met "Maggie" in March last year as she was dating a friend of his, while still married to Preston.

He claimed he was desperate for a job and Maggie suggested he work for her as a driver, a job he held until his arrest on December 6.

Klip alleged that in November, Maggie and Masimthembe January – referred to as MJ – went to Port Elizabeth, where they attended a church service.

Accused asked for 'assistance' to kill her husband

The following day, January apparently introduced him to Justice Mooi, who he said Klip could discuss his issues with.

Klip had "problems with his stepmother" and asked for assistance from Mooi, who apparently said he could use witchcraft on his stepmother or shoot and kill her.

Klip claimed he laughed, and told Mooi he would "call him once he has money".

Magdaleen "Maggie" Titus. (Image via Facebook)

He said Maggie had asked him about their conversation, and later requested to speak to Mooi alone.

Back in Oudtshoorn, Klip said he asked her about their discussion and Maggie said she "asked Justice for his assistance to kill her husband".

He alleged he had asked her how the man would do it, and she said "at some stage people tried to kill her while she was driving her car, and she explained that she will give her car to her husband to drive and then have him killed while driving her car".

No guns

He said he accompanied Maggie to the Oudtshoorn graveyard to pick up Mooi on November 29.

Mooi was accompanied by another man, not known to him, and the two arrived by taxi, he said.

They drove the duo past the Titus house and Klip said he asked Mooi's accomplice if they had brought guns.

They said they had brought knives, he said in his statement, and he told Maggie what had been said and a confrontation ensued.

"She wanted to know from the unknown man what happened to the money that she sent them for the guns. The [man] said Justice will explain [when he returns from the toilet]..."

He said they then went to Stuurman's home in Bongolethu, Oudtshoorn.

In the kitchen of the home, Maggie asked "what the plan was" and about the "gun situation".

The accused allegedly didn't "get the guns" but had brought knives as well as brake fluid, which she took – to spike Preston's drink.

First attempt

Maggie had allegedly wanted the hit executed on November 30 and would pay the two hitmen R30 000 each.

A spanner was seemingly thrown in the works when two of Preston's friends arrived at their house and wanted to stay the night. But, Klip claimed, she said the visitors were "drinkers and that they will drink and fall asleep".

He alleged that when Maggie sent an SMS indicating everyone was asleep, they drove to the scene but Mooi's accomplice was not comfortable with the idea of two other men in the house, near Preston's room.

They lied and claimed the two friends were awake and returned to Stuurman's house, Klip said.

He alleges that the next day Maggie told the men the "job should be done" that day and that she would take the children out, leaving Preston home alone.

The men bought pepper spray and sleeping tablets, he claimed.

Hit called off again

When they went to the Titus house later that day, Klip said he knocked on the door and Preston opened, saying Maggie had told him he would arrive with two pastors from Port Elizabeth.

He fetched them from the car and they spoke to Preston about Port Elizabeth while Klip went to smoke.

When he returned, Mooi was "holding the pepper spray in his left hand as if he was ready to execute the plan".

Klip told him the neighbours were outside and they again called the hit off, he said.

"They told [Preston] they would come again when Maggie is back and then left..."

Maggie later arrived at Stuurman's house and they told her what had happened, he said.

Crushed sleeping tablets

She then "finalised plans" for another attempt on the same day, Klip claimed, saying she would put her phone, a laptop, tablet and R3 500 in a bag that they should take in an attempt to stage the murder to look like a robbery.

"Maggie also said that the kitchen door will be open and that her eldest daughter will not be home since she will be at a braai or potjiekos," Klip said.

The fan in her husband's bedroom would be left on as it was noisy and Preston and his youngest daughter would not hear them enter the house.

The men gave her crushed sleeping tablets, Klip claimed, and told her to put them in her husband's food.

"Maggie then said her husband would be cooking but she will make a plan. Justice also said that she should put a bit of the crushed sleeping tablets on the daughter's food to make sure that she is also asleep."

Mooi later phoned him and instructed him to "not come back without a hammer", which he obtained from a tenant living at his father's house.

Co-accused offered R30 000

Klip said he told a friend about the plan and that he "did not feel comfortable doing this anymore" and later told Maggie that he didn't want to be involved.

"Maggie said that [Klip] can't tell her that, since he is the only person that she trusts."

She also allegedly promised him R30 000, among other things, and Klip agreed to continue with the plan.

He said he and the two men waited at Stuurman's house for an SMS informing them of when it was time for them to go to the Titus house.

The message came at about 22:00 or 23:00 that night, he said.

When they arrived at a planned stop near the house, Klip said he sent Maggie an SMS asking if Preston was asleep and "whether it was safe to come in". Maggie allegedly confirmed it was.

Destruction of evidence

Klip said he waited in the car as the two men, one carrying a bag, walked along the street behind the Titus home.

They returned about 20 minutes later. This time, both were carrying bags, Klip alleged.

Klip said he drove the men to a lodge in George, where Maggie had allegedly made arrangements for "two ANC people" to sleep.

He said he left the two of them there.

Klip said he was instructed by Maggie on December 3 to contact Mooi to tell him to destroy the phones and tablet after giving the "stolen" device details to the detectives for possible tracing.

Mooi then told him he had lost the pepper spray in the house, Klip claimed.

Confession

Later that evening, Klip said he, Maggie, Stuurman and January had been talking about the murder in the room where Preston was killed.

January allegedly wiped Klip's phone to get rid of the implicating messages.

Klip said when he told Maggie about the missing pepper spray, she "pulled out a bag [containing] perfume, pepper spray and some other stuff".

He claimed January took it to be destroyed.

Klip was arrested that Wednesday and volunteered a confession to police.

He was approached by an advocate appointed to represent him, but neither Klip nor his mother had hired the lawyer, he said.

Manhunt for two suspects

He believed that Maggie had instructed and paid the advocate.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed authorities were still hunting for January, who allegedly facilitated the meeting between Maggie and Mooi.

"Police are also looking for the second man who travelled from PE to Oudtshoorn in order to carry out the murder. For now he is only known as Vusumzi," he said.

Maggie will make a bail application in the Oudtshoorn Regional Court on January 29.

Stuurman had not yet appointed a legal representative or applied for bail, Ntabazalila added.

Mooi on Monday made a bail application. Judgment is expected on January 29.

Read more on:    anc  |  sandf  |  cape town  |  crime

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