Beheading: teens expected to plead guilty

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IOL NT FUNERAL murugan Independent Newspapers Desiree Murugan's mother is comforted by a friend during her funeral. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu

Durban - Four teens are expected to plead guilty by Friday to their involvement in the decapitation of Chatsworth woman Desiree Murugan.

Three minors, aged 16 and 17, told the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday they wanted to plead guilty. Meanwhile, 18-year-old co-accused, Falakhe Khumalo, indicated he would too, but insisted on pleading without having an attorney present.

Khumalo had kept the court - and a packed gallery, including Murugan’s family and their supporters - waiting for the better part of the day until he eventually decided to ask for the help of a legal-aid attorney to draw up his guilty plea.

Attorney Thobile Sigcau now represents all four youngsters. He told magistrate Anand Maharaj he still needed to consult Khumalo.

Six people were arrested in connection with Murugan’s murder. Sibonakaliso Mbili, 32, and Vusumuzi Gumede, 30, also appeared briefly on Wednesday and indicated they wanted to apply for bail.

Their application is expected to be heard on September 22. One of them is said to be a traditional healer.

Murugan’s death is believed to be muti-related. She was apparently stabbed more than 100 times.

Her decapitated body was found by municipal staff at the Shallcross Sports Stadium last month and her head was found in the Imfume area on the South Coast a few days later.

All six accused had appeared twice in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court before the matter was transferred to the Durban Regional Court.

In court on Wednesday, prosecutor Kuveshni Pillay said the office of the director of public prosecutions was now handling the case.

The four teenage accused, including a woman, are to appear in court again Friday.

Murugan’s family told the Daily News they had expected all six to plead on Wednesday and were disappointed they had to wait until Friday to hear why their sister was killed.

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