Man 'forced' to kill dentist's wife

2000-09-14 17:26

Pretoria - A 20-year-old gardener told the High Court trial of prominent Kempton Park dentist Dr Casper Greeff on Thursday that he had been forced to take part in the murder of Greeff's wife.

Greeff and Christopher Njeje have denied charges of abducting and murdering Estelle Greeff in November last year.

A handyman who did odd jobs for Casper Greeff, Elliot Masango, who was last week sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder, told the court that the dentist had promised to pay him and Njeje R60 000 for the murder.

He had removed electronic goods from the house to make it appear like a robbery on Dr Greeff's instructions, he said.

He told the court that he had strangled Mrs Greeff, but that Njeje had cut her throat.

On Thursday, Njeje however claimed he was forced to go along with Masango at gunpoint.

He said Masango had repeatedly assaulted and threatened him. Njeje claimed Masango had told him about Dr Greeff's offer only after the murder, but he did not believe that the dentist would do such a thing.

Njeje said Masango had promised to give him R10 000 of the R60 000 if he kept quiet about the murder.

In the same breath, however, he also claimed Masango had threatened to kill him and made him promise to confess that he was responsible for Mrs Greeff's death if they were ever arrested.

Njeje told the court in gruesome detail how Masango had first smothered Mrs Greeff with a blanket in the garage of her own home after she begged him not to do it and then slit her throat with a blunt knife on finding that she was still alive.

Njeje claimed he was lured to Mrs Greeff's house by Masango, who promised to give him a painting job. Once there, Masango hit and kicked him and repeatedly threatened him with a firearm.

According to Njeje, Masango had forced him to tie Mrs Greeff's hands behind her back, but he was out of the garage when Masango strangled her with a blanket over her head.

When he came back with a television set and video recorder he had fetched from the house, Masango told him that Mrs Greeff was dead.

They loaded the body into the boot of Mrs Greeff's car, but on their arrival at a deserted road near Cullinan, found that she was still alive.

Njeje could see her looking around.

He testified that Masango had dragged Mrs Greeff out of the car by her hair before starting to cut her throat with an Okapi knife while he (Njeje) was forced to hold her feet.

She told Masango to hurry up, because he was hurting her.

Njeje said the knife was blunt, so Masango stuck the knife into one end of Mrs Greeff's throat so that it came out at the other end. He then cut her throat from the inside out. According to Njeje, he was instructed not to let go of her feet until she stopped struggling.

He said Masango had afterwards thrown his shoes, which were full of blood, and the firearm, into a dam.

Njeje only went on a drinking spree with Masango after the murder "because I was begged to", he claimed.

The trial continues. - Sapa