‘Police made me confess’ to murder

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The Durban woman charged with killing her husband, a Nongoma magistrate, claims she was tortured by police and forced to confess to the crime.

Thandeka Nyawuza and her lover, policeman Bongumuzi Ngcobo, are on trial in the Durban High Court for the murder of magistrate Sebastian Nyawuza.

The magistrate was shot and killed in June 2011. His body was found alongside the road between Nongoma and Ulundi by children on their way to school.

The State alleges that Nyawuza conspired with Ngcobo for at least a month about how the murder should take place.

It is alleged Nyawuza led her husband to believe she would arrange for him to meet a traditional healer to assist him with an ailment. Ngcobo posed as the healer and picked up the magistrate in Ulundi and then killed him.

The State contends that Nyawuza confessed to the police and implicated Ngcobo in the crime.

Ngcobo then did a pointing-out at the crime scene. But Nyawuza and Ngcobo both claim they were tortured by the police and forced to confess to the crime.

On Wednesday, investigating officer Captain Bonginkosi Mncube, of the Richards Bay organised crime unit, testified that after her arrest Nyawuza was very co-operative with the police.

“She was remorseful and told us she had planned the murder with Ngcobo. She also told me Ngcobo was living at the police barracks at Durban Central police station.”

Nyawuza’s attorney Zwelabantu Buthelezi, told Mncube his client would testify that she was tortured and forced to confess to killing her husband.

Mncube denied the allegations of torture.

Buthelezi asked why Nyawuza was not immediately taken to court to plead guilty after her arrest.

Mncube said this would have been an irregular procedure.

“A suspect cannot go plead guilty without giving a statement to the police. At the time she was questioned, she was willing to plead guilty. But she is exercising her rights now by telling the court a different version.”

Buthelezi said a district surgeon had recorded that Nyawuza had bruises on her arms when she was examined after her arrest.

“These bruises were caused by her having her hands handcuffed behind a chair,” Buthelezi suggested.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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