Pretoria - ‘He stole a dead person’s money,” a North Gauteng High Court judge told the counsel of a man accused of first killing his eight-months’ pregnant girlfriend, before twice drawing money using her bank card.
Johannes Tshepo Nkomo, 34, denied that he killed and then robbed Baleseng Onicca Motshwane, 32, in her Brakpan flat.
Her badly decomposed body was discovered on February 5 last year, three days after she was killed.
Nkomo told Judge George Webster he visited her that weekend - but left on the Sunday morning of February 2 - and when he did so she was in good health.
A few months before her death, he loaned her R6 000, he said. Before he left that Sunday, she gave him her bank card and said there was enough money for him to draw and buy whatever he wanted to. He made the first withdrawal the next day, not knowing she was dead, he said.
He was told of her death on February 6, he said, and drew more money two days after hearing about it. This was, Nkomo testified, because he had to pay for spares for his car.
He admitted he never gave her bank card back to her family after her death, as he had lost it. He also did not contact her family to pay his respects, claiming it was contrary to his culture to do so.
Nkomo claimed he phoned his girlfriend on February 5 from a payphone to her landline, but she never answered. He could not explain why he did not call her on her cellphone.
Judge Webster asked Nkomo why he, after hearing of her death, never gave her bank card back to her family. The judge said the family did not strike him as being rich and they would have needed the money for funeral arrangements.
Nkomo denied statements by the prosecution that when he left Motshwane on the morning of February 2, he knew she would not question him drawing money with her card, as she was already dead.
The State asked the court to convict Nkomo of murder and robbery, arguing that there was only circumstantial evidence, but all fingers pointed at him as being the killer.
A doctor who did the post-mortem confirmed she was already dead for a few days before her body was discovered by her worried colleagues who went to her home. One of them said that when he looked through the keyhole into her flat, he smelled “something which resembled rotten meat”. She had a stab wound to her chest and a pillow and blanket covered her head.
The defence insisted Nkomo knew nothing of the murder and nobody witnessed him killing his girlfriend. But Judge Webster several times asked why he would think of drawing money for spares after his loved one had died and why he never gave her bank card back to her family after he heard she was dead, labelling it strange behaviour. Judgment will be delivered on Thursday.