Siam Lee murder case struck from the roll after court confirms that murder accused is dead

2019-07-02 12:38
(Siam Lee via Facebook)

(Siam Lee via Facebook)

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The only person accused of the murder of Durban sex worker Siam Lee died of cancer last week.

This was confirmed in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Tuesday when the matter appeared before Acting Judge Naresh Bhikha, who struck it off the roll.

State prosecutor Cheryl Naidu said it was a sad turn of fate that Philani Ntuli, the only accused, died before the State had a chance to prove its case.

"The NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and the investigating officer put endless effort into this and it is a crying shame that we will not be able to prove it [as a] compelling case we were confident of."

According to Naidu, there had been concerns about the copy of Ntuli's the death certificate.

But she said: "It turned out to be a printer fault in the Gingindlovu home affairs office."

She said fingerprints were taken at the funeral parlour and they matched ones taken from Ntuli at the time of his arrest.

"The investigating officer, Rajan Govender, also performed a visual inspection of the deceased's body and confirmed that it appeared to be him."

'Pain and suffering'

Nan Lee, Siam's mother, was tearful after the appearance and said it could have been God's will that claimed Ntuli's life.

She added that she was still saddened by the "pain and suffering my little girl had to go through before she died".

Ntuli's lawyer, Reial Mahabeer, previously confirmed his client's death and said Ntuli's uncle confirmed to him that he had succumbed to cancer.

Ntuli faced a string of charges related to 19-year-old Lee's murder and others relating to his ex-fiancé.

He was arrested after Lee's body was discovered in a sugarcane field in New Hanover in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in January 2018.

He was granted R40 000 bail while his trial continued.

The case will now fall away.

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Read more on:    siam lee  |  courts  |  crime
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