Palm Ridge Court escapee one of the Gemballa killers

2016-03-08 21:15
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Johannesburg - The man who escaped from the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday morning was due to be sentenced for the murder and kidnapping of German businessman Uwe Gemballa later this week, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

"He was going to appear in court with two others for sentencing proceedings, as they were convicted on February 4 on charges of murder, theft and kidnapping of German national Uwe Gemballa," NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw told News24 on Tuesday.

Thabiso Ledwaba and his co-accused Garland Holworthy and Thabo Mohapi were all convicted for the German supercar specialist's murder and kidnapping on Thursday.

Louw said it was up to the presiding officer to decide whether or not the proceedings would continue with Holworthy and Mohapi.

According to The Star, Gemballa was an associate of convicted drug dealer Radovan Krejcir and slain Teazers boss Lolly Jackson.

A fourth accused, Thabiso Melvin Mpye, 29, was convicted and sentenced in a plea agreement for his involvement in Gemballa's murder.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing 55-year-old Gemballa shortly after the German arrived in South Africa on February 8, 2010.

Gemballa's body was found in a shallow grave in Pretoria in October that year.

In March 2011, Media24 Investigations reported that Krejcir had allegedly boasted to his private doctor that he was behind Gemballa's murder.

On Monday, Ledwaba appeared in court on a separate matter.

The 28-year-old escaped from the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday morning after pulling a gun on a police officer in the holding cell section of the court.

Ledwaba and his co-accused Modiko Dipale and Percy Segoe had appeared briefly in court nine on one charge of murder, nine counts of attempted murder, six counts of robbery with aggravated circumstances, one of housebreaking and one of theft.

Dressed in a smart white shirt, grey pants and a gold wrist watch, Ledwaba flashed a smile to his co-accused before standing alongside them in the dock, with a black unzipped bag next to him.

Less than 30 minutes later, unknown to those inside court at the time, Ledwaba was standing in the holding cell section a few metres below the courts, pointing a firearm at an officer inside his office.

Ledwaba took the officer's gun and keys from his table then headed straight to a door with bars on its gate. He unlocked it and walked out into a courtyard and escaped through a large gate with his feet still shackled.

It was not immediately clear where the police officers and security guards on duty in the yard had been at the time.

Ledwaba is still at large.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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