A carpenter charged with the murder of a widow has applied for bail.

Skhumbuso Enoch Mkhize, 33, had been working at the widow’s home in Pietermaritzburg and was fitting built-in cupboards at the time of the murder, on April 25.

Mkhize was arrested in Pakis informal settlement, in Copesville, barely 24 hours after Venotha Ince, 51, was found dead in her Egret Road cottage in Northdale.

Her cellphone was found in his possession. Ince died of multiple stab wounds to her chest.

She was found lying in a pool of blood at her bedroom door by the contractor in charge of the renovations to her home. Cash and her cellphone had been stolen.

The State is opposing bail. Members of Ince’s family were present in the Pietermaritz-burg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Testifying on Thursday, Mkhize said he did not know Ince and had not gone to her house to do any work. This was in spite of a witness statement by his boss, Vees Ramkilowan.

Mkhize admitted that Ramkilowan was his boss, but denied that he worked at Ince’s home. He said that he intended pleading not guilty to the murder and said that if given bail, he would not evade his trial and would not hamper investigations or interfere with state witnesses.

Mkhize said that he was the sole provider for five children. He said that he lived with his common-law wife, Thokozani, who is the mother of two of his children.

Under cross-examination, Mkhize could not explain why Thokozani had given a statement to police in which she admitted that Mkhize had come home with Ince’s cellphone on the day of the murder.

He could also not explain why cellphone records confirm that Mkhize’s sim card was inserted into Ince’s cellphone on the morning of her murder.

Mkhize refused to answer how it came to be that he gave a confession regarding the murder to a policeman at the Greytown police station after his arrest.

The bail application continues on June 28. - Daily News