Wife gagged before being hacked

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Copy of ST sec AxeMan235 THE STAR Palesa Letsholo, a mother of three, with her husband Andrew, who lost his job before she was killed. Photo: Matthews Baloyi

 

Johannesburg - A Soweto man allegedly stuffed a cloth in his wife’s mouth so that she would not make any sound as he hacked her to death with an axe last week.

Andrew Letsholo allegedly struck his wife Palesa three times with an axe in their marital bed and left her there.

When the domestic worker and a neighbour discovered the body hours later, they were severely traumatised.

The helper, who had been working at the house for only three weeks, quit her job immediately and the neighbour’s health has taken a dip since the gruesome discovery.

A relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said when Letsholo left his house that morning, he told the helper that Palesa was ill.

Copy of ST main AxeMan246 Palesa Letsholo's mother Portia Nkosi with the books Andrew Letsholo was reading before he allegedly killed his wife in Protea North, Soweto. Photo: Matthews Baloyi THE STAR

When the helper went to knock at her door, there was no answer. At about 1pm, she tried the door after again not getting a response.

She felt something inside the room, blocking the door. The helper abandoned the attempt and fled.

She then discovered she was locked inside the house.

“Around that time, Letsholo called the neighbour and told her that he had done something bad to Palesa and that she must tell the helper that the keys (to the house) are in the microwave. The neighbour went next door and told the helper where the keys were.

“They then rushed to the bedroom and found that the dressing table had been used to block the door from inside. We don’t even know how he himself managed to get out afterwards,” she said.

The relative said Letsholo was a quiet man who loved watching true-crime shows on the Investigation Discovery channel on DStv. He was obsessed with crime stories.

He also loved books on crime, with titles such as The World’s Greatest Crime of Passion and The World’s Greatest Serial Killer, dealing with serial killers, necrophiliacs and mass murderers such as Ted Bundy, Jerry Brudos and John Christie.

Palesa’s mother Portia Nkosi said she was told to rush home on the day of the killing because her daughter was sick. She found policemen all over the yard.

After pushing past relatives, she was shocked at what she saw. Her daughter’s body lay lifeless on a bed, a hole in her forehead.

“I was confused. I still am confused. I walk around aimlessly, I don’t know how to feel,” she said.

Describing Palesa as a friendly and loving person who always had a smile on her face, Nkosi said she did not understand how the murder could have happened.

The couple had been together for about 12 years and had a 9-year-old girl and 4-year-old twin boys.

“I knew Andrew as a good person, he was a good father and whenever I visited them, it did not seem like anything was wrong,” she said.

The only time her daughter mentioned a problem was the Sunday before she died.

“Letsholo had been laid off from his job and Palesa told me that he would often come home drunk,” she said.

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