Witness identifies alleged serial murderer

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Independent Newspapers

Joseph Ntshongwane. Picture: Independent Newspapers

A man identified former Blue Bulls rugby player Phindile Joseph Ntshongwana in the Durban High Court on Tuesday as the one who attacked another man with an axe.

State witness Sihle Vincent Mhlongo said Ntshongwana was the man he saw in Umbilo, Durban on a road opposite his house attacking another man with an axe on March 23, 2011.

At that time Ntshongwana was hacking Simon Ngidi with an axe, he said.

Ntshongwana is charged with hacking four people to death with an axe.

He is charged with the murder of Thembelenkosini Cebekhulu in Montclair on March 20, 2011, Paulos Hlongwa two days later, Ngidi the following day, and an unidentified man sometime that week.

He is also accused of kidnapping and raping a woman on November 28, 2010, and faces a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mhlongo said he had just finished studying at 3am when he heard a man screaming.

He opened his curtain to investigate and saw a man chasing another man.

Mhlongo said he first thought the man who was chasing was carrying a stick.

The pursuer then struck the fleeing man and he fell on the ground.

“The attacker continued assaulting him; then I realised he was chopping him with an axe,” Mhlongo said.

He told the court Ntshongwana continued chopping Ngidi for about 10 minutes.

“When I opened the curtain I thought he would stop, but he didn't,” Mhlongo said.

He shouted out to Ntshongwana, telling him to stop what he was doing.

“He stopped, looked at my direction and ran away towards town,” Mhlongo said.

He told the court he saw Ntshongwana's face because the street lights and some of the neighbouring houses' lights were on.

During cross examination, Ntshongwana's attorney Themba Mjoli asked Mhlongo if it was possible that he recognised Ntshongwana from pictures published in the newspapers.

“There's no way I can ever forget his face because he made me see something that I had never seen,” Mhlongo said.

Mjoli told the court Ntshongwana had no recollection of the incident because of his mental illness.

Ntshongwana has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar.

The court was filled to capacity with family members of the deceased. - Sapa


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