The few seconds that altered a life

2016-10-26 12:12
Colin Pitts before the stabbing.

Colin Pitts before the stabbing. (Supplied)

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An 18-year-old man, Nduduzo Mkhize, was on Tuesday found guilty of stabbing a “good Samaritan” Colin Pitts with a screwdriver, inflicting horrific injuries on him.

As a result of being stabbed in the forehead on June 11, 2014, Pitts is now a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic in need of 24 hour care.

According to medical evidence he bled into his brain, eventually leading to surgery and the removal of the right side of the brain.

He now resides in the dementia section of Riverside home.

Regional court magistrate Rose Mogwera said after assessing all the evidence she had no doubt Mkhize was the person who stabbed Pitts, and found him guilty of attempted murder.

However, she said while there was also evidence pointing to Mkhize’s likely involvement in the attempted theft of an Isuzu double-cab owned by Maurice Webster which led to the “whole drama” there was not sufficient proof to convict him of that charge.

The case was postponed to November 22 for presentencing reports.

“Sometimes all it takes is a few seconds of criminality to trigger a chain of events that can alter a person’s life forever. This case tells such a story. It is also the story of a good Samaritan [Pitts] which unfortunately did not have a happy ending,” Mogwera said during her judgment.

She said the misfortune that befell Pitts that fateful day had to be told by others because he is incapable of doing so.

The incident unfolded at about 1 pm when Webster was alerted to the fact that his double-cab had been broken into and damaged in Victoria Road. The ignition wiring had been dismantled.

Webster was told that people had pursued the perpetrators.

One of them was Pitts.

Meanwhile a motorist, Alexander Gray, was driving along a side street when he came across a man carrying a small bag (who he later identified as Mkhize) “running very, very fast”. The man caught his attention because of the urgency with which he ran.

He said that Pitts, driving a Pajero, had come up behind him hooting and flashing his lights and he moved over to allow him to pass.

Gray followed the Pajero and shortly thereafter came across it “blocking” Mkhize in Greyling Street.

Gray also stopped and parked in such a way that Mkhize was trapped between the two vehicles.

At this point Mkhize turned, jumped onto the bonnet of Gray’s vehicle, smashing his windscreen and then leapt off and ran away. Pitts chased him after him on foot.

Gray said he followed them but by the time he caught up with Pitts (in Stead Lane) he noticed that Pitts was “very dizzy” and bleeding from his forehead. Pitts told him he had been stabbed in the head with a screwdriver by the man he was chasing.

Gray said Mkhize was lying on the ground surrounded by members of the community who had arrested him.

At that stage Gray left the scene and took Pitts to St Anne’s hospital.

The court heard that an off-duty police man arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and “rescued” Mkhize from the angry crowd.

The policeman said someone handed him a screwdriver which was allegedly used to attack Pitts.

The policeman walked with Mkhize to Greyling Street where they encountered a police van and he was handed over.

The court heard that a bag was found in Mkhize’s possession with an Allen key and side-cutters which could be used to break into or steal a car.

In his evidence —which was rejected by the court — Mkhize denied that he was the person who was arrested in Stead Lane or that he stabbed Pitts.

He claimed he had been involved in a fight with a group of foreign nationals in the vicinity, that he fled from them and that he was subsequently arrested in Greyling Street.

Mogwera said even though the evidence against Mkhize was circumstantial she had no doubt viewing the case “in its totality” that he was the person who stabbed and injured Pitts.

Pitts’ wife, Michelle, who attended the judgment told The Witness she hopes to testify on behalf of her injured husband before Mkhize is sentenced.

“I am prepared to speak for Colin because he can’t speak for himself,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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