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Nelspruit - A man accused of raping and murdering a Nelspruit airport employee told the court on Thursday he had consensual sex with the woman.
Sibusiso Wonder Phelembe, 29, was testifying in mitigation of sentence in the Nelspruit circuit of the High Court in Pretoria, a Sapa correspondent reported.
Phelembe was convicted on Wednesday of robbing, raping and murdering Nonkululeko Thandi Khoza with a hammer at her home in Dwaleni Trust, outside White River, on May 21, 2010.
His co-accused Justin Fanyana Malambe, 41, also an employee of the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA), was convicted of robbery and murder.
On Wednesday, Judge Daisy Molefe denied a defence request to acquit Malambe, finding that he was implicated by sweat found on a hammer handle used in the murder.
Phelembe's semen was found on Khoza and her cellphone was traced to him, Molefe found.
On Thursday, Phelembe testified that he was having a love affair with Khoza.
“On the night before the murder, she came to my place and we had consensual sex,” he told the court, adding that they had swapped cellphones.
He later gave the cellphone to his other girlfriend Ruth Mabuye.
“I only heard about her (Khoza's) death from the community. I could not attend the funeral as I had to go to a dry-cleaner in White River,” he testified.
Prosecutor Kenneth Mashile submitted that this was a fabrication.
Mashile said Khoza died at her own house and that the semen found on her genitals linked her to Phelembe.
“Whether the proven facts exclude any other references, the evidence of the accused is not reasonably true,” he submitted.
Molefe postponed the matter to Tuesday.