Lover slain, killer called cops to report her ‘suicide’

Hands of a man behind bars

Lundokuhle Innocent Radebe, 26, will serve 15 years direct imprisonment for the 2021 brutal murder of his girlfriend Thandeka Precius Tshabalala. File Picture

Published Jan 22, 2024


The High Court in Pretoria, sitting in Benoni, has sentenced Lundokuhle Innocent Radebe to 15 years’ direct imprisonment for murder and an additional five years’ imprisonment for defeating the administration of justice.

The court ordered that the sentences against the Duduza man, 26, run concurrently and that he be declared unfit to possess a firearm, said Lumka Mahanjana, Gauteng spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“The deceased, Thandeka Precius Tshabalala, 20, was in a relationship with Radebe. In the early hours of the morning of November 22, 2021, while the two were at Radebe’s place of residence in Duduza, Radebe strangled Thandeka to death,” said Mahanjana.

Thereafter, he called the police.

A pathologist found that Thandeka Precius Tshabalala, 20, had been murdered and she had broken bones. File Picture

When the law enforcement agents arrived at his house, Radebe told them that Thandeka had committed suicide. He said he had found her body tied with a cord around her neck.

“After the body of the deceased was examined by the pathologist it was discovered that the deceased had been strangled.

“Radebe was arrested on December 1, 2021, at his place of residence,” said Mahanjana.

Through his legal representative, Radebe asked the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence for murder, and impose a 10-year sentence, because he had no previous convictions.

Radebe also informed the court that he had the responsibility of looking after his 16-year-old sibling.

However, in aggravation of sentence, State prosecutor advocate Vusumzi Tshabalala told the court that there was a significant amount of violence used when committing the murder of Thandeka, which led to broken bones in her neck.

A pathologist found that Thandeka Precius Tshabalala, 20, had been murdered and she had broken bones. File Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

“Tshabalala also argued that this case was a typical case of femicide which robbed the deceased of her life since she was only 20 years old when she was killed.

“As such, the killing of the deceased has caused trauma to her mother and siblings,” said Mahanjana.

Tshabalala urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years’ of direct imprisonment.

“When handing down sentence, Judge Van Veenendaal said gender-based violence (GBV) is a big pandemic in South Africa and that men should learn to respect women.

“Moreover, Radebe did not show any remorse and therefore she found that there were no substantial or compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence,” said Mahanjana.