Pretoria -

A Lotus Gardens man has admitted to killing his girlfriend by throttling her, placing her body in the boot of her car and setting it alight.

Pretoria High Court Judge Matilda Masipa, however, noted a plea of not guilty on behalf of Lloyd Maleswena of Cullinan, as she was not convinced that he had admitted to all the elements of the crime.

Maleswena’s trial before Judge Masipa is his second round in court for the alleged crime, as another judge declared a mistrial last year.

This was after a Legal Aid SA advocate, who represented Maleswena, proved totally incompetent. Judge Legodi Phatudi, who first heard the case, found Maleswena’s right to a fair trial was compromised and ordered that another judge, a new prosecution and a new defence team be appointed.

Judge Phatudi was so shocked by the legal knowledge of the defence advocate that he asked during the trial to see his certificate of appointment. It was established that he was an advocate, but in declaring a mistrial the judge referred his judgment to the Pretoria Bar council to investigate whether the advocate was fit to practise.

Facing his second trial on the same charge, Maleswena admitted that he killed Claudia Rapudi during a lovers’ quarrel. He said she came to visit him at his home in Lotus Gardens on November 2, 2011.

He confronted her about another man he suspected she was also romantically involved with. She denied this and a heated argument broke out, he said.

“I became extremely angry and grabbed her tightly by the throat, using both hands. I can’t say for how long I grabbed her, but she lost consciousness. I locked the doors and went to work. I quickly came back home and found her body still in my bedroom. I became scared of what I did and decided to put the body in the boot of her car. I drove to a secluded place near Cullinan and Mamelodi where I set the car, with the body inside, alight. I went home.”

Maleswena said he could not live with what he had done and told his sister after a few days. “As what I did continued to haunt me, I went to our ZCC church headquarters in Moria. I made a confession to a senior priest, who called another priest to hear what I was saying. They called the police. I regret my stupid actions and ask for the courts’ mercy.”

Judge Masipa postponed the matter to September 1. - Pretoria News