Naked body found under bed

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Pretoria - A murdered Eersterust woman was found half naked with a stocking stuffed into her mouth under her alleged killer's bed, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

Witnesses who found 18-year-old Novinia Groom in the room of Jermaine Marbles said the girl was wearing only a T-shirt and had bruises and scratch marks on her body.

Marbles, 33, who lives in the same street as the murdered woman's family, has pleaded not guilty to raping and murdering Groom on August 24 last year.

He also pleaded not guilty to raping, attempting to murder and stealing the cellphone of another Eersterust woman in July 2010.

Eersterust police constable Steve Mayekeng testified that he had gone to Marbles' room after Groom's mother Valerie reported her daughter missing.

She said her daughter had been seen with Marbles the previous night.

Marbles was not in his room and his door was locked.

The policeman later returned to the room because Groom's mother insisted she had a “gut feeling” her daughter was in that room.

He used a crowbar to open Marbles' door, after obtaining permission from his commander.

Marbles' grandmother was in the room when it was searched.

“I saw blood stains on the duvet. I kneeled down and put my hand under the bed. Then I felt human fingers,” Mayekeng said.

“I picked up the bed... (and) I found a body lying on the ground. The body had a T-shirt, but no underwear or trousers, a sock in the mouth and both hands were behind her.”

He said he saw scratch marks and bruises on the body.

He had seen blood stains not only on the duvet but also on the mattress, and also found a police name badge and a blue police shirt in the room.

Groom's mother sobbed and ran out of the court room when Vincent Sombur (the mother's boyfriend) testified how the body was discovered.

Sombur in his evidence claimed he was the first person to discover the body, although the policeman was standing next to him.

He said Valerie had “gone off her rocker” when her daughter's body was found and kept on screaming “my child, my child”.

Sombur described Valerie as a strict mother, who had not allowed her daughter to be out late at night.

One of Groom's friends, Jennilee Patrick, testified that she had last seen Groom with Marbles on the night before she was killed.

Marbles was sitting on the pavement in front of his grandmother's house and called Groom to talk to her about her phone.

Patrick never saw either of them again and assumed that both had gone home to sleep.

She had assisted in the search for her friend and had heard Marbles telling Valerie her daughter had climbed into a car when she asked him where Groom was.

The trial continues. - Sapa

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