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Ex-lover led cops to torture deaths accused

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iol news pic Northcliff torture death feb 05

Illustration: Sibusiso Dubazana

A court drawing of Kenneth Schroder and Paul Mundel.

Johanensburg - The former lover of one of two men accused of torturing and killing two Northcliff siblings five years ago spilt the beans to the police about the incident.

The woman said she was present when Gary Smith and Karen Buchanan were killed in 2008 and had decided to come clean to the police because she wanted to clean up her life.

In affidavits submitted to the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for Kenneth Schroder and Paul Mundel’s bail application, the woman revealed that she was Schroder’s former lover and the mother of his child.

 The two have been charged for the torture and murder of Smith and Buchanan, his older sister.

Buchanan was stripped, raped, bound and shot in the back of the head. Smith was shot in the mouth.

Schroder and Mundel face two murder charges each in addition to charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and the possession of a firearm.

 

In the affidavits, the witness said that a year after the killings, Mundel had kidnapped and raped her for several days to intimidate her not to tell the police about the murders.

The woman made the statement under Section 204, which means she has to testify accurately and truthfully in order to receive a non-custodial sentence. She is under witness protection.

State prosecutor advocate Nerissa Muller said the witness had also revealed that Smith and his sister were killed for explosives that the accused were looking for and that Buchanan’s fiancé was known to have.

A hand grenade was found at the scene of the crime.

Mundel’s legal representative, advocate Piet du Plessis, rejected the claims and characterised the woman as a scorned lover who was out for revenge.

He said the state witness had claimed Schroder had forced her into prostitution.

Du Plessis asked why the woman had come forward only in December last year when the murders had been committed in 2008.

“Why did she not go to the police all this time?” he asked.

Du Plessis also accused the state witness of going after Schroder to get him back.

He said the woman had appointed and paid for a lawyer immediately after Schroder’s arrest.

She had also indicated she would not testify against Schroder, only against Mundel.

The lawyer she had appointed, Junaid Mohamed, withdrew from the case on ethical grounds last week after discovering that the person who had appointed him was now a state witness.

He said he was doing so for ethical reasons.

Du Plessis said the woman was using his client as a scapegoat.

“She wants to get Schroder into trouble, but not deep enough so as to get him back to her and the child. So now Paul (Schroder) is the one who did everything.

“Looking at the evidence of the State, it’s unlikely and improbable for the State to base a successful prosecution on (the state witness’s evidence).

Muller disagreed, saying the State had a very strong case regardless of whether the woman had an obsession with Schroder. The obsession was something she had to answer to herself.

Judgment on the application was expected on Tuesday.

botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za

The Star


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