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Court watchers looking for a quick and sensational forensic fix as the trial of Thandi Maqubela and business partner Vela Mabena for the June 2009 murder of her husband, Acting Judge Patrick Maqubela, would have been disappointed as the case resumed in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.
The day’s testimony was given over to complex and detailed evidence of cellphone communications between the two accused in the weeks before Maqubela died and in the immediate aftermath of the judge’s death.
Maqubela and Mabena have both pleaded not guilty to the acting judge’s murder.
Maqubela intends to prove that her husband was not killed but rather died of natural causes and that the blood at the scene was part of the decomposition process.
Maqubela suffocated on June 5, 2009 in his Bantry Bay apartment, but his body was found only two days later, lying on the bed with a bloodied pillow over his face. Media reports in the wake of the killing uncovered a R20 million trail of debt left behind by Maqubela, as well as a reputation as a serial womaniser and sex addict.
Vodacom forensic liaison manager Petro Heyneke read extracts from the record to show that Thandi Maqubela had called her husband’s number on June 8, 2009 - after his body had already been found.
The State alleges that the acting judge was killed on June 5, 2009 and that his body was found two days later.
Eric Ntabazalila, Western Cape NPA spokesman, commented outside court that the State used the cellphone records in an attempt to prove that there was cellphone communication between numbers linked to Maqubela and her husband after his body had already been found.
“They are intending to prove that Mrs Maqubela was phoning the deceased’s cellphone, after his body was already found and that she had his phone in her possession.”
- Cape Argus