Durban - Surrounded by five heavily armed policemen and hampered by leg irons, notorious escapee and alleged killer Sthembiso Vincent Shabalala burst into tears as he testified in court in his defence on Tuesday.
Shabalala, 32, from Highflats, Ixopo, is charged with a string of crimes including theft, murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and assault.
He was allegedly part of a “syndicate” formed to rob people of their cars.
The man who managed to escape police custody twice, once from the Donnybrook police cells in March 2012, and again on December 2 from the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, faces 10 charges.
These include the robbery from and murder of Richmond farmer Rob Anderson in August 2012, the hijacking of a Toyota light delivery van from Rajsingh Ramdalal in Umzinto in November 2009, as well as robbing and stabbing Sadanund and Vanitha Dhaja outside their Umzinto flat in July 2012.
Anderson’s Isuzu bakkie was stolen by Shabalala, along with the Dhajas’ Toyota Tazz.
Shabalala is also charged with assaulting a former girlfriend, Angeline Ngubane, by “striking her and biting her” on August 17, 2012.
Testifying on Tuesday in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Shabalala denied any knowledge of the crimes.
While he could not recall where he was or what he was doing at the time of the incidents, Shabalala said he did not commit any of the offences he is accused of.
Asked to explain how a number of stolen vehicles were found at his home, Shabalala passed the blame on to his wife and her brothers, claiming they had driven the vehicles to his house.
He said he had no idea where the vehicles had come from.
A firearm that has been positively linked to Anderson’s murder was also found in a house that the State alleges Shabalala was renting.
Shabalala claims there was more than one person living in the house at that time and that the gun did not belong to him.
“I have never owned a gun or had a gun at my home,” he said.
The trial continues.