No forced entry at judge’s home

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IOL aug 21 Thandi Maqubela N (27800393) INLSA (File photo) Thandi Maqubela. Photo: Greg Maxwell

aCape Town - There was no forced entry into acting Judge Patrick Maqubela's apartment, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Colonel Andries Pretorius, the commander of the Criminal Records Centre, said he arrived at the judge's apartment three days after his body was found.

Pretorius found the front door locked. Before another officer unlocked it, Pretorius looked for any signs of forced entry, and found none.

He said because the door was wooden, it would have been easy to notice any damage.

Pretorius was testifying in the murder trial of the judge's wife, Thandi Maqubela, and her co-accused, businessman Vela Mabena.

Both have pleaded not guilty before Johannesburg Judge John Murphy to charges of murder, fraud and forgery. The latter two charges relate to a forged will.

The judge's body was found on June 7, 2009.

Pretorius described the various phases of the forensic investigation.

The apartment was used by Maqubela's family and this had limited the colonel's investigation, the court heard.

Pretorius found cupboards were closed in the room where the body was found, and there were a few items of clothing in the en-suite bathroom.

Prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk allege the judge was suffocated with plastic wrap, placed over his face. His wife claims he died of natural causes.

The trial continues on Thursday. - Sapa


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