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Marital strife and desire for money were among the motives that drove Thandi Maqubela to kill her husband, acting Judge Patrick Maqubela, the State argued in the Western Cape High Court.
Thandi Maqubela and business associate Vela Mabena are charged with murdering the judge either by strangulation or by means unknown.
Maqubela also faces charges of forgery and fraud – the State claims she forged her husband’s signature on his will and fraudulently presented it to the office of the master of the Johannesburg High Court.
Patrick Maqubela’s body was found in an apartment in Bantry Bay on June 7, 2009, and it is thought he died the previous day.
During closing arguments on Monday, State prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo said events in the first week of June 2009 had brought matters to a “boiling point”.
When presiding Judge John Murphy asked: “Where’s the intention?”, Currie-Gamwo listed marital strife, a life policy the acting judge had taken out the previous month, and a meeting Thandi Maqubela had with Justice Minister Jeff Radebe which effectively crushed her husband’s career.
Currie-Gamwo submitted there was a “monetary incentive” for Maqubela to kill her husband.
Maqubela also discussed with Radebe her husband’s infidelities, which would probably have had implications for his career chances.
“She had now crushed any chance he had of becoming a (permanent) judge,” Currie-Gamwo said.
Three days before his death, Patrick Maqubela had asked his financial adviser to draft a separation agreement, but his wife did not want a divorce because she was a Jehovah’s Witness.
Currie-Gamwo argued Thandi Maqubela’s behaviour at the time of her husband’s death – the fact she did not contact with any of her husband’s friends, or call the hospital when told he was in hospital – was suspicious.
“The only inference we can draw from her actions that morning is that she did not bother to find the deceased because she knew where he was.”
Currie-Gamwo said the way the judge’s body was found was also of interest. He had a sheet over his body and a pillow over his face.
Argument is expected to continue on Tuesday.