Man guilty of brutal murder of teen

2018-01-15 21:43
Gift Sibondo was found guilty of the murder of Bredasdorp teen Elda Jaftha (Jenni Evans, News24)

Gift Sibondo was found guilty of the murder of Bredasdorp teen Elda Jaftha (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has found Gift Sibondo guilty on three charges of kidnapping, two charges of statutory rape and murder of his teenage "girlfriend" Elda Jaftha in Bredasdorp, who was found severely beaten and dead under his bed in 2015.

"The only inference that can be drawn is that he is the one who brutally assaulted the deceased, and in the process, the deceased died," said Acting Judge Feziwe Renqe.

Sibondo had pleaded not guilty, claiming that he had found the 15-year-old in a "faint" from alcohol on a soccer field in Bredasdorp on Friday, May 29, 2015.

He carried her home, tripping along the way and scratching himself, and then placed her on his bed and nursed her with a towel dipped in boiled water.

He said he left her on his bed, coming back to dab her more with the damp towel, waiting for her to come out of the "faint".

But by Sunday, May 31, he started to worry. By then he was telling people that she was poorly, but they were not listening to him, he claimed.

He said he hid her under his bed that day because his brother was coming to fetch a borrowed DVD.

Police tip-off

He did this because he did not want his brother to see that she had been drinking alcohol.

Her body was only found after a suspicious neighbour left an anonymous tip-off with the police.

They kicked his door down and saw her feet sticking out from under the bed.

Renqe rejected his version of events.

The acting judge said he did not try to get medical help for the clearly ailing girl and had had many opportunities to come clean over that weekend. 

Many people had spoken to him, including the landlord to collect rent, a neighbour who called him "rubbish" when he was carrying her home, as well as another neighbour who was suspicious and asking questions.

He had even almost walked into a car that weekend because he was so distracted. He could have confessed to the driver who had shouted to him: "What's wrong with you?".

She said the teen's injuries were so severe that even if she had been taken to hospital and not kept in his room, she would have been dead within two hours of the beating, based on medical evidence she heard.

Defensive wounds 

The girl suffered blunt force trauma, a traumatic brain lesion and strangulation. There were drag marks on her thighs, knees and arms, brain swelling, two teeth were knocked out, and she had contusions on her lips. She was probably even dragged over a bench, and had no pants on at the time of the attack.

She showed some defensive wounds, and there were signs she had been hit with a pipe and a fist, possibly even kicked.

Pieces of what is thought to be a screw driver, and the tips of twigs, were pulled out of her wounds.

She had internal bleeding and from the bleeding, was in a state of shock and lost consciousness. She went into a coma and died. 

The police also produced a jersey he was wearing when he was seen carrying her the previous Friday. On this jersey was her blood, his blood, and that of an unidentified person.

However, he claimed that the blood was there because Jaftha used it to wipe herself during menstruation.

Trips

There was only one member of the public in the court to hear Renqe read her thorough recap of the events leading up to the discovery of Jaftha's body under his bed. It took the whole of Monday's court session, and, involved translation by a Shona interpreter.

The case revealed that the teenager's murder was the culmination of years of abuse.

Some of her friends said he hit her.

The court heard that before her death, he had already been arrested for taking her out of town without her mother's permission but the case was withdrawn.

Their trips included a trip to Thohoyandou, where her mother had to apply to a cellphone company to find out where she was, and also to Swellendam, Leeu-Gamka and Cape Agulhas.

Court will sit again on Tuesday to start sentencing procedures.

He has no previous convictions.



Read more on:    cape town  |  courts

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