Damning DNA evidence links man to rape and murder of his girlfriend
According to the State’s case, presented by senior advocate Noxolo Dube, Simiso Chonco, 26, strangled Sinethemba Ngubo on December 9, 2018, raped her and dumped her body at the Lindelani cemetery.
It’s alleged that Chonco made several attempts to remove the tracker in Ngubo’s car and approached various people, who will testify in the trial, in this regard. However, he was caught before he could succeed.
Chonco was allegedly planning to move Ngubo’s body from the cemetery where he had dumped it and burn it to make it look like she died in a fire.
Chonco pleaded guilty to killing Ngubo at the start of the trial, but claimed he had not planned to kill her. The State rejected this, leading to the matter going to a full trial. The case was adjourned to allow Chonco to instruct a new lawyer after he fired his previous one.
He had also indicated that he planned to challenge the DNA evidence linking him to the rape charge by conducting his own tests privately, saying he did not have intercourse with Ngubo that night. But when the matter returned to court on Monday, he showed up in court without a lawyer and without a DNA expert.
Legal Aid instructed a lawyer to represent him in the trial.
When the trial continued yesterday, the State called DNA expert Motjile Makapan, who analysed tests on fluids such as semen samples taken from Ngubo and swabs done on Chonco.
Makapan told the court that swabs from the steering wheel of Ngubo’s car were also sent for tests and analysis.
He told the court semen could be found in a woman’s body up to 72 hours after death.
“After 72 hours, the chances are generally slim. Depending on the conditions the body was exposed to, it takes 72 hours for DNA to die in a person’s body. Other ways of elimination of DNA is when a woman urinates often or has taken a bath,” he said.
Makapan said there was no doubt that the semen taken from Ngubo’s body matched Chonco’s DNA, which created the conclusion that Chonco did have sexual intercourse with her before she died.
Despite having vowed to challenge the DNA evidence, Chonco changed tack yesterday. His lawyer said he would tell the court that he did have intercourse with Ngubo on the day of the incident. The trial continues.