Durban — The Durban High Court has found a Newlands East woman guilty of murdering her husband.
Analidia Dias Bella Dosantos, 41, and her friend, Charmaine Margaret Khumalo, had stabbed Dosantos’s husband, Mark Buttle, 53 times in the neck while he was sitting in his car in Napdale Road, Newlands East in 2018.
Dosantos and Khumalo had stood trial without Dosantos’s lover, Teagan Allison Brown, 25, who had also been implicated in the crime. Brown had died in July before the trial had started. The charges were therefore withdrawn against her.
The three had hatched and executed a plan to kill Buttle. An insurance policy and Dosantos’s affair were believed to have been the motives for the murder.
After they had murdered Buttle, Dosantos had allegedly parted ways with the other women. She had gone to a nearby house where she had reported that she and her husband and had been hijacked.
In his verdict on Thursday, Acting Judge Murray Pitman said the crime did not fit the modus operandi of hijackers and robbers.
“If you want to rob someone of their vehicle, you certainly don’t stab them 53 times and then, eventually, you still leave the car. In this case, the deceased was found in his car,” he said.
The trial wrapped up last year after Dosantos’s cross-examination by senior State prosecutor advocate Khatija Essack.
During the trial, when Essack had introduced a statement on the confession and pointing out by Khumalo, the defence had opposed it and a trial within a trial had ensued for the court to determine the admissibility of the evidence on the grounds that the accused was under undue influence at that time.
Judge Pitman had ruled that the confession and pointing out were inadmissible.
Evidence that on the night of Buttle’s murder, Brown and Khumalo had pitched up after midnight on the doorstep of another woman’s house wearing bloodied clothes did not form part of the evidence of the main trial. This was after a statement detailing all this was ruled inadmissible by Judge Pitman in a second trial within a trial in the matter.
The second trial within a trial came about after the defence for the two women objected to the submission of this statement made by Inga Ogle because Ogle had died and could not be cross-examined.
Ogle had been married to the daughter of a State witness, Shareen Ogle, who is Khumalo’s ex-lover.
During the trial, Shareen told the court that Khumalo had confessed to her about the murder. However, when Khumalo had taken the stand, she had denied this.
After Judge Pitman convicted the two women, their bail was immediately cancelled and they were taken into custody.
The matter was adjourned until April for a pre-sentencing report for Dosantos who has a minor child.
The State intends to call Buttle’s father to testify in sentencing proceedings.
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