Pinky Nonkululeko Cele, 32, a mother of one, was arrested in 2017 with her cousin, Happiness Mkhize, 35, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the murder of Shallcross pensioner Hemrani Brijlal, 65, in May 2017.
Mkhize and two other alleged accomplices, Doctor Vitus Mabhida, 41, and Sibongiseni Patric Gumbi, 31, are still on trial, facing charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
During the State’s case, conducted by State advocate Khadija Essack, which concluded yesterday, the court heard that Brijlal, who was divorced and lived alone, had told Mkhize that she wanted to sell some of her furniture and appliances. Mkhize is alleged to have plotted with her accomplices to pretend to be buyers.
The State alleged that on the day of the murder, the accused had entered Brijlal’s home on the pretext of wanting to buy a fridge. Once inside, the assailants bound and gagged her.