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Johannesburg - A witness in the Uwe Gemballa murder trial says she fears for her safety after testifying against two of the three men accused of murdering the German supercar specialist.
The heavily pregnant woman, who asked not to be named as her confession would land her in hot water, on Thursday told the high court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court that two of the three men who were arrested for the murder were “good friends” with the man who has already been convicted of the crime - Thabiso Mpye - thus contradicting Mpye’s testimony that he barely knew them.
The witness said these men - Kagiso Ledwaba and Garland Holworthy - also tried to convince Mpye to use the same lawyer as them so they could corroborate their alibis.
She told the court that she had been dating Mpye at the time of Gemballa’s murder in 2010, and that Mpye would receive phone calls from Holworthy and Ledwaba. The trio would also “hang out” on a fairly regular basis.
She herself had visited Ledwaba at his Atteridgeville home along with Mpye. It was after Mpye’s arrest that she started receiving phone calls from Holworthy, Ledwaba and Holworthy’s father, Reginald, asking about her boyfriend’s whereabouts.
In one of the conversations with Holworthy - who was at the time in police custody in Krugersdorp - Holworthy had told her to tell Mpye that he needed “to stick to the story they had worked out”.
The other phone calls all revolved around whether Mpye had said “anything” to the police, family members or anyone else.
She said she was eventually contacted by Mpye - who has since turned State witness - to co-operate with the police.
Mpye’s confession had led the police to the discovery of Gemballa’s body.
Last week, Mpye made a shocking turnaround after he said his confession and statements given to the State were taken through force. He said he barely knew the three accused, including Thabo Mohapi, and that it was four other men who had approached him to hide Gemballa’s body.
Judge George Maluleke postponed the trial to September 30.