Mbombela - A man accused of murdering a prostitute pleaded not guilty to the crime on Monday and told the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria that the woman died during rough sex.
Paul Andrew Opperman, 25, pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery but guilty to culpable homicide, a Sapa correspondent reported.
He was arrested on April 9 last year after being accused of robbing sex worker Anita Tumelo Loba, from Ga Matole near Steelpoort, of R70 cash and a Nokia cellphone, and of killing her.
Opperman testified that he picked Loba up in Steelport on March 13 last year.
“The woman asked to have rough sex with me and she even asked that I beat her up. When I did and when she screamed, I thought she was enjoying the sex and was in ecstasy,” Opperman testified.
He later realised she was unconscious.
“I did not mean to kill her,” he said.
He then decided to take her belongings and dump her body.
According to the charge sheet, Opperman was driving his green Opel Corsa at about 8pm on the night in question when he stopped at an intersection near the filling station where he picked up Loba.
The charge sheet, which contains horrific photographs of the deceased's face, adds that Opperman assaulted the deceased several times with an unknown blunt object and further hit her head and face repeatedly against a hard surface.
After realising she was unconscious, the accused then put the woman's naked body in the boot of his car, drove away from the murder scene and dumped her near a mining area.
The State alleges that Opperman returned to the petrol station and tried to buy R200 petrol using Loba's R70 cash.
Three garage employees, Nkopeng Sannie Motau, Josias Kgomekebja Mabelane and Harry Harold Mohlala testified that Opperman tried selling them the cellphone for R130 to pay for petrol.
“I refused to buy the cellphone and poured petrol for only R70 in his vehicle,” Mabelane said.
A friend of Loba's, who is also a prostitute, testified that when Loba had not returned after a long while, she phoned her cellphone but got no answer.
“I called again after five minutes and someone switched it off. When I saw his vehicle at the garage, two of my other friends confronted him and asked him where our friend was.
“He replied he had dropped her off where he had picked her up. As my friends spoke to him, I noticed blood on his clothes and took his car registration,” she said.
The woman said they later called Loba's family and also alerted the police.
Judge Ebenhaezer Jordaan postponed the trial to Tuesday.