Six held for lawyer’s murder

2019-09-16 10:06
Mluleki Msomi (24) was a candidate attorney at Austen Smith Attorneys in Pietermaritzburg.

Mluleki Msomi (24) was a candidate attorney at Austen Smith Attorneys in Pietermaritzburg.

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Just two hours after the murder and hijacking of a young Pietermaritzburg candidate attorney, the local  K9 Unit had recovered the murder weapon, the hijacked car and arrested six men in connection with the shooting.

One of the six men linked to his murder is confirmed to be a student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mluleki Msomi (24) was a candidate attorney at Austen Smith Attorneys in Pietermaritzburg.

According to sources, Msomi had been inside the popular pub, Saki, at Victoria Centre, with work colleagues.

Msomi’s cousin, Andile Ndlovu, said he had spoken to Msomi hours earlier on Thursday. Msomi told him he needed to serve an urgent application and could not meet him that evening.

Ndlovu said Msomi then had a meeting with his colleagues followed by dinner at the pub.

According to sources at the scene, Msomi was chatting to colleagues when a black Hyundai parked outside the pub.

Apparently, the car moved closer to the entrance of the pub and two men climbed out and entered Saki.

One of the men was allegedly seen shaking Msomi’s friend’s hand and was later seen smoking and chatting outside to some of the people Msomi was with.

It is believed Msomi left the pub just after 1 am and started walking to his car.

A source who has seen CCTV footage of the incident said the man who was smoking can be seen running to the Hyundai, fetching something from the car and then running towards Msomi’s car before Msomi had even reached his vehicle, a white Hilux double cab.

“They shot him once in the head, then stole his car and they fled the scene,” said the source.

“It looked like they knew which car they wanted and who the owner was before the shooting happened.”

murder

However, shortly after the shooting, the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit were called out and immediately split up, covering the various exits the shooters could have used.

Without a registration number for the Hilux or the Hyundai, the K9 Unit called into radio control and said they were looking for a white double cab.

“That was all the information the unit had to go on,” said a police source.

The officers who effected the arrest are Warrant Officer Mdunge, Sergeant Woods, Sergeant Sikhakhane, Sergeant Thabethe, Sergeant Gaffoor, Constable Coetzee and Constable Kleinbooi.

Mountain Rise police officer Sergeant Felix Ndlovu was on shift, patrolling when the description of the vehicle came through.

Working persistently, Ndlovu managed to track down Msomi’s registration and handed the information to the K9 members.

“He really looked for that information. It was not a quick thing, he worked hard on finding it,” said the source.

The unit spread out and eventually found the Hilux dumped near UKZN.

Collin David, the group director of private security firm Mi7, told Weekend Witness that guards apprehended a student “covered in blood” on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus.

David said the student had a firearm on him, as well as two cellphones and a power bank which apparently belonged to Msomi.

He said Msomi’s Toyota Hilux was found in a shopping complex nearby.

“We called the K9 unit and searched around the area. Near Ridge Road we arrested another five guys after following some information.”

A black Hyundai vehicle was also seized, David said.

K9 Unit members surrounded the car and arrested the other five men who were all found to be wearing blood-spattered clothes.

“It is an open and shut case. Hopefully Msomi’s family will have a bit of closure now that the men have been arrested,” said a police source.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said cases of murder and hijacking have been opened against the six men and they will be appearing in court soon.

The motive for the shooting is unknown.

UKZN confirmed an arrest was made at the Pietermaritzburg campus.  “Our disciplinary processes will follow,” spokesperson Ashton Bodrick said.

Meanwhile, Austen Smith partner Cassie Sharrock said the firm was in shock. “Mlu was a second-year candidate attorney due to be admitted as a legal practitioner early next year,” she said.

“He was working in our litigation department. He was very well liked by his colleagues and by all who knew him. He will be deeply missed by all at Austen Smith,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder
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