SA boxing champ's cop boyfriend arrested following her shooting

Leighandre Jegels.
Leighandre Jegels.
Sijuta Promotions

The police officer who allegedly shot and killed woman boxing champion Leighandre "Baby Lee" Jegels has been arrested, IPID has confirmed.

The suspect was arrested on Friday after he was involved in a head on collision near Peddie, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson Sontaga Seisa confirmed.

Jegels, 25, was shot, allegedly by her police officer boyfriend against whom she is reported to have a protection order, while commuting with her mother in East London, where she lived.

The boxer's mother was also wounded during the shooting and was rushed to the hospital, Sport24 reported.

Seisa said that the motive of the shooting appears to be related to a "domestic dispute between the couple".

"It is alleged that an off duty policeman based at TRT East London fired several shots to his girlfriend who died instantly on the scene. The same policeman [allegedly] fired shots to his girlfriend's mother and injured her. She is currently receiving medical attention in the area."

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni confirmed the matter has been referred to the (IPID) for further investigation.

Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga has described the incident as "shocking and devastating" and has urged all parties involved to allow the IPID investigation to be conducted with the accuracy it deserves.

Shock

Following the incident, the boxing community has been left "saddened" and "in shock", according to a post by Boxing South Africa to their Facebook page.

Jegels has not fought since August 2017 and has an unbeaten record of 9-0 with 7 knockouts.

She was expected to make her comeback in July in Saudi Arabia, however the tour was cancelled after the kingdom "revoked the move saying that women shouldn't be involved in boxing, wrestling or any aggressive sport", the Daily Dispatch reported.

According to a statement posted by Boxing South Africa, issued by chairperson Dr Malefetsane Peter Ngatane, Jegels was scheduled to make a comeback in October.

Jegels’ professional boxing career took off in 2014 and in two years she was named the South African Junior Bantamweight Champion. She later also became the WBA Pan African Junior Bantamweight Champion. 

According to Boxing South Africa, before joining boxing Jegels was a talented karateka who had achieved a black belt.

"What is also sad is the manner in which she lost her life, more especially at a time when the entire nation is busy bracing itself to celebrate the last weekend of the month of women," Ngatane said.

The EFF in the province has also spoken out against the violent incident during Women's Month.

"It is disturbing that as we end the month that is supposed to honour women, we have seen more death, more abuse and more missing young women. It is also disturbing that violence has been normalised in this country due to lack of law [enforcement] and of the judicial system in playing their roles," the provincial EFF said in a statement.

The suspect is expected to appear in court on Monday.

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