I've been tortured since my arrest - Siam Lee murder accused

2018-02-02 15:28
PHOTO: Facebook/@Siam Lee

PHOTO: Facebook/@Siam Lee

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Durban – The man accused of the murder of 20-year-old Siam Lee claims he has been tortured in the Durban North police station holding cells, since he was arrested last month.

Cebolenkosi Philani Gift Ntuli, 29, appeared in the packed Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday in connection with eight charges, including kidnapping.

Ntuli – who was smartly dressed in a black blazer, white shirt, navy trousers, black shoes and black-framed glasses – told Magistrate Mohammed Motala that he wanted to be transferred to the Westville Prison's holding cells because he was being assaulted at the Durban North police station.

Also read: Smartly dressed man arrested for  Siam Lee’s murder

"I've been sleeping on a mat for two weeks and I've been tortured (suffocated) with a plastic bag. I've suffered enough at Durban North. I want to at least go to Westville, where I could get a better sleep," he said.

Ntuli has been charged with kidnapping, murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, reckless or negligent driving, failing to perform duties of a driver after an accident, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, and fraud.

It is alleged that he kidnapped Lee on January 4 outside a house on Margaret Mayton Avenue, Durban North, and threatened to shoot her, according to the charge sheet.

Lee's burnt body was discovered by a farmer in New Hanover.

The accused was arrested for Lee's murder on January 17.

'Police threw away the clothes'

Ntuli, who represented himself after having a fallout with his lawyer before the court proceedings, claimed that, even during the day of his arrest, he was assaulted.

He said that, on the day of his arrest, he had been to the King Shaka International Airport and had worn a pair of grey trousers and a white T-shirt, "but police threw away the clothes I wore after they tortured me".

He said he was forced to change after the alleged assault.

"I was wearing different clothes when I got to the Durban North police station, but footage from King Shaka can prove that I had been wearing other clothes earlier."

Ntuli, who seemed confident, angered people who had packed the public gallery when he greeted a woman, who waved at him through a court door, while he stood in the dock.

Ntuli seemed unfazed during the court proceedings and occasionally turned around to look at the members of the public, including Lee's mother and members of the Democratic Alliance.

When Motala told him that a new investigating officer had been tasked with investigating his case, Ntuli changed his mind and asked to be kept at the Durban North police station's holding cells.

During Ntuli's arrest at a residence in Assagay, Hillcrest, he was allegedly found in the unlawful possession of a firearm and 11 live rounds of ammunition.

Read: BREAKING - Arrest made in Siam Lee murder case

On the day of Lee's kidnapping, he allegedly drove a black Mercedes-Benz Viano at high speed and collided with a Ford Ranger on the corner of Margaret Mayton Drive and Hinton Drive.

He did not stop after the accident, it is alleged.

On January 8, he allegedly told police that he was involved in a collision on that day but, according to the charge sheet, the accident took place on January 4.

His fraud charge relates to allegations that he told insurance company OUTsurance that he had been involved in a collision on January 8 in Cato Ridge.

'It's a sign he is a psychopath'

The media was not allowed to take pictures or videos of Ntuli because prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu again submitted that he was "possibly" facing additional charges, and that an identification parade might still need to be conducted.

Motala adjourned the matter until February 9. He told Ntuli to consult with his new legal representative before his next court appearance.

Ntuli would return to the Durban North police station holding cells.

Lee's mother refused to speak to the media.

DA members said Ntuli should not be given bail when he applies for it next week.

DA member in Durban North, Teressa Hills, said: "He's got a cheek about sleeping on a mattress and he is worried about bruises and he turns around and smiles at everybody. For me it's a sign he is a psychopath.

"He wasn't arrested for no reason. There's a reason why he is lying [on] a mattress in a holding cell. He should get a maximum penalty," she said.

Read more on:    siam lee  |  durban  |  crime  |  courts

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