- The bail application of the men accused of murdering Brendin Horner got under way at the Senekal Magistrate's Court on Friday.
- During the application, the State revealed some evidence that police collected as well as what witnesses said.
- The evidence includes bloodstained clothes, fingerprints and cellphone records.
The bail application of the two men accused of murdering Free State farm manager Brendin Horner has revealed some of the evidence the State wants to rely on, including forensics on blood work, witnesses and cellphone records.
Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa appeared in the Senekal Magistrate's Court on Friday for a formal bail application.
Opposing bail, the State called Captain Gerhardus Myburgh, an investigating officer in the matter, to give viva voce [oral] evidence.
Horner went missing on Thursday evening 1 October, when it is believed he was murdered after allegedly being accosted by the accused. His body was discovered on Friday morning 2 October on the same farm where he worked and lived in Paul Roux.
Injuries and cause of death
Myburgh said Horner suffered stab wounds to his head, shoulder, arm and hands, according to the post-mortem. All the wounds were sustained during the same attack.
The post-mortem also revealed that the cause of death was strangulation.
Myburgh testified that Horner had abrasions on his thigh indicating that he would have been dragged across a gravel surface.
Bloodstains were found on the road near the gate which leads to his home, as well as blood spots along the way to where his body was found.
A large amount of blood was also found near the spot where Horner was tied to a fence pole. A knife was found on his hat, which was near his body.
The court heard that after Mahlamba was arrested, police found a pair of bloodstained trousers in a chest freezer in his shack.
In another shack on the same property, police found more items of clothing with blood on it, including a jacket and a pair of shoes.
Mahlamba denied the trousers were found in a freezer in his shack, and said he did not own a pink shirt that was taken as evidence.
Police seized clothes that had just been washed and were drying, from Matlaletsa's home when he was arrested.
Police also lifted fingerprints and palm prints from Horner's bakkie, which was found abandoned around 13km from where he was murdered. The prints were still being analysed and compared to the fingerprints taken from both accused.
Myburgh also told the court blood was taken from the inside and outside of Horner's bakkie and was sent to a private laboratory in Gauteng.
This evidence was collected by a private investigator and revealed that the blood came from three different men.
The police captain testified that both accused had abrasions on their elbows when they were arrested.
In terms of the forensic evidence collected, police were still awaiting the:
- Forensic analysis of the clothes collected;
- The finger and palm print analysis;
- Cellphone records.
The State gave insight into its witnesses, who allegedly spotted the accused walking from the direction of the farm that Friday morning and reported that both accused allegedly boasted about assaulting a white man on the farm.
Myburgh said one of the witnesses reported seeing three people coming from behind the mountain at the township in Paul Roux.
He said Mahlamba and Matlaletsa were identified as two of those people walking towards the township, coming from the direction of the farm.
Two other independent witnesses told police they saw Mahlamba and Matlaletsa together at a tavern on the Friday evening.
The one witness allegedly said she overheard a conversation between the accused as well as a third person in which Mahlamba was boasting about "assaulting a white man on a farm because he was disturbing them", Myburgh said.
The other witness apparently told police Matlaletsa said they had tied up the white man, now identified as Horner, to a fence post with a rope and fled in his vehicle. They said they had the man's wallet, according to the witness.
Myburgh said the details given out by Matlaletsa matched the crime scene, and it was based on this information that police effected the arrests.
Defence version of events
Mahlamba told the court he was not at the farm on the Thursday evening and spent the night as well as the Friday morning with his girlfriend.
He further testified that the blood on his clothes was from a sheep he slaughtered for a traditional feast at one Pinky's house in September.
The State, however, said it was in possession of a statement under oath from his girlfriend who said she and Mahlamba went to bed on Thursday evening but she woke up later to find that he was gone and only returned in the early hours of Friday morning.
As for the traditional feast, police followed up that lead and Pinky told them while she knows Mahlamba, he was not at the feast, nor did he slaughter a sheep, the court heard.
Mahlamba also told the court the authorities did not tell him why he was arrested, how he was linked to the crime and what crimes he was being charged with.
He even said police told him he was being released as tests indicated the blood on his clothes was that of an animal.
The court also heard that Mahlamba has a pending case of stock theft but no previous convictions.
Matlaletsa, who did his bail application via an affidavit, told the court he intended pleading not guilty and would not go into the merits of the case.
He told the court he lives on a disability grant, which also supports his wife and four children.
According to Matlaletsa, he was convicted of:
Stock theft in 1986 and sentenced to 18 months in prison
Stock theft in 1994 and sentenced to four months in prison
Illegally buying a pig in 2000 and was not sentenced to prison time
The State did not find these convictions on the system, and instead found that he was convicted of:
Housebreaking in 1998 when he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment
Burglary in 1999, sentenced to four months' imprisonment
Stock theft in 2010, sentenced to six months in prison, wholly suspended
Trespassing in 2011 and made to pay a R50 admission of guilt fine
Both men said they were unemployed and could only afford bail of R500.
The matter has been postponed to 20 October when Myburgh will be cross-examined by the defence attorneys.