Not enough evidence to try elderly couple

Charges against an elderly couple accused of murdering five children at Molomini reserve near Tugela Ferry in January were withdrawn in the Tugela Ferry magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Pietermaritzburg's chief prosecutor Advocate Andrew Loubscher said charges were withdrawn against Mabona Ngcobo, 70, and his wife Gwilile, 65 "because there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution".

Loubscher said: "They have not been acquitted. Obviously investigations will continue and we are still awaiting results of tests.

"Depending on the availability of evidence we may reconsider, but at this stage there is not sufficient evidence to continue with the case."

The couple were arrested two weeks ago after the children's bodies were found in an abandoned car at the couple's home. The badly decomposed bodies had blisters on them.

Last Friday, the preliminary post mortem on the children showed they were not killed for muti, as had been suspected.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Superintendent Vish Naidoo said the actual cause of death of the children had not yet been established.

"Toxicology tests have been conducted on the children and we are awaiting the results.

"According to the post mortem report and contrary to unfounded speculation that the children were victims of a muti killing, it was established that the children had neither sustained any physical injuries or lacerations, nor were there any body parts missing from them," he said.

The victims are three-year-old Sisanda Khanyile, his sister Nonzimelelo, 5, and their friends Thabani Sokhela, 5, Simiso Nhlangulela, 3, and Lindeliwe Dladla, 5.

The children were buried at a joint funeral last week.

Residents started looking for the children after they did not return home from play on January 22.

The couple's home was in the meantime been burned by angry residents. - Sapa

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