Durban - The teenage girl who lured Chatsworth mother Desiree Murugan to her grisly death in 2014, was “a vulnerable young person, who required a parent or adult’s management or control”.
This was the conclusion reached by psychologist Clive Willow, after he interviewed Mbali Magwala.
“Ultimately, I wouldn't see her as a risk from an anti-social point of view,” Willows told the Durban High Court yesterday.
In January, Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati found Magwala and co-accused Jimmy Stanley Thelejala, Mlungisi Ndlovu and Sibonakaliso Mbili guilty of Murugan’s murder.
The judge found Magwala, Thelejala and Ndlovu – all minors at the time – coaxed Murugan to a Shallcross sports ground, where she was stabbed 192 times and then beheaded.
This after Mbili, a traditional healer, had promised R2 million for the head of an Indian, white or coloured woman.
Thelejala and Ndlovu helped kill and decapitate Murugan, while Magwala assisted in selecting her as a victim and washed her head in a bucket after she was murdered.
Sentencing proceedings are currently under way and Willows was called to the stand as the court’s witness, to testify about Magwala’s mental state.
He said the now 19-year-old orphan might have participated in Murugan’s murder because of peer pressure and the need for acceptance.
WIllows said Magwala lost her mother when she was just four-years-old and that while she had received support from her extended family, it seemed she had lacked an adult male influence.
“That is particularly important in the female teenager’s life,” he said.
Willows said Magwala had indicated that she was remorseful and felt sorry for Murugan’’s family.
He also found Magwala to be of above average intelligence and said in his report, that she had maintained “a high academic standard”.
Senior State advocate Cheryl Naidu asked him about this yesterday and she put it to him that Magwala’s remorse might have been contrived in order to garner his sympathy.
Willows conceded that this was a possibility.
“But the way she spoke and the tearfulness - I had no reason to doubt that she was not being genuine,” he said.
The case continues.