Pre-trial woes in murder case of pensioner allegedly killed by neighbour

Ken Price, 74, who lived alone in Malvern and was killed in November 2021.

Ken Price, 74, who lived alone in Malvern and was killed in November 2021.

Published Apr 18, 2024


Durban — Since the beginning of the year the State has been trying to finalise the pre-trial conference for a man charged with the murder of a South African Navy Veteran whose body was found six months after he was killed.

Ken Price,74, who lived alone in Malvern, was killed in November 2021. He was reported missing by his family in December, and police investigations led to the recovery of his decomposing body in Richards Bay in May the following year.

The pensioner’s neighbour Julio Nobrega and his employee Nathan Padayachee were charged with his murder.

However, Nobrega is now to stand trial alone after it emerged in court that Padayachee, who was Nobrega’s employee, died in August.

Nearly four months on, what was meant to be the finalisation of the pre-trial conference this week saw these proceedings being adjourned again, due to new developments brought by the defence which asked the State to consult the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The pre-trial conference was postponed to May following the new developments.

Nobrega has also changed lawyers, adding to the delay. He was previously represented by J Botha who later withdrew from the case.

When the matter was in court in January it was adjourned to February for Nobrega’s new lawyer, Ben Dlamini, to be supplied with statement copies from the docket.

However, the pre-trail did not go ahead in February as Dlamini had detected that there were some outstanding documents and it was adjourned to this week.

The summary of facts in the matter is that Nobrega had a panel-beating business that he was running from his home, and it is alleged that for some time before Price’s murder Nobrega had suspected the pensioner of reporting his panel-beating activities to the authorities.

Furthermore, in November 2021, Price had invited Nobrega to his home for a braai. Nobrega arrived with Padayachee, as well as his other employees.

Price became intoxicated at the braai and the accused helped him inside his house, following which they went back to Nobrega’s house.

There, it is alleged, they conspired to rob and kill the pensioner.

It is alleged that Nobrega handed Padayachee a hammer with which to kill Price.

Nobrega is currently out on R5 000 bail which was granted in 2022 when the matter was still in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.

The alleged motive for the murder was that Price often “checked on activities” in Nobrega’s yard, where Nobrega, a motor mechanic, was working from home and would phone the police to report this.

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