Letters link car journo to murderComment on this story
Carrington Laugh-ton has been around the block more than just a few times.
He is the founder of a website called NakedMotoring. co.za, the chairman of the SA Naturist Federation (Sanfed), he organises events for the 61 Mechanised Battalion Group of the SA National Defence Force, he allegedly conned an Australian man out of R3000 for a snorkel for his Land Rover Defender and he has a previous conviction for perjury.
Lately, however, the Joburg man is better known for being the person police allege wrote a letter of confession which led them to discover the murder of waitress Betty Khethani, who was killed 13 years ago.
Last month the owners of a house in Kenilworth in Joburg were renovating the premises when they found a bundle of letters. One was a confession linking five men to a spree of violent abductions and a grisly murder.
One of them was Laughton.
The others were Paul Toft-Nielsen and Dirk Reinecke, motoring journalists at Naked Motoring, and Conway Brown, who is a “friend” of Laughton’s on Facebook. The other two, brothers Carel and David Ranger, were serving policemen.
The letter linked them and Monique Lamkis to a spree of abductions and Khethani’s murder.
In May 1999, Khethani, 37, who was having a pay dispute with her employer, was kidnapped and shot in the head.
The killers dumped her bleeding body in Walkerville. But they didn’t know that she survived.
When they realised she was not dead, they hatched another plan, forging documents to kidnap Khethani again. They pushed her out of the hospital in a wheelchair, pretending to transfer her to another hospital. She died either from the shock of the second kidnapping, or from being suffocated after tape had been placed over her mouth and nose. The men were arrested last month.
Laughton has denied writing the confession letter. Toft-Nielsen submitted an affidavit detailing how Laughton had threatened him. The Ranger brothers claimed they were not involved, but have admitted to transporting Khethani from hospital. Brown withdrew his bail application, after submitting a written confession.
During bail proceedings in the men’s case in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, Laughton’s ex-wife, Jane Laughton, emerged as a secret witness. She said she had found photographs of the group’s other alleged kidnappings, featuring a Ruth Mncube.The photographs, found in an envelope emblazoned with the word “RUTH”, had been in Jane’s family safe for 13 years.
When Laughton first asked that the letters be stored in the safe in 1999, he said they were a “life insurance policy” that would protect him. -Saturday Star