Durban 21072014 Phylina Letlaka, with her son, Joseph Ntshongwana, Dbn High Court. Picture:Jacques Naude

Durban - The mother of alleged serial killer “axeman” Joseph Ntshongwana on Thursday denied suggestions that she had tried to avert his arrest for rape by taking him to a hospital for mental treatment.

Phyllina Letlaka told Durban High Court Acting Judge Irfaan Khallil: “I am an attorney. I know that even if a person is hospitalised the police have the right to arrest that person. I alerted the investigating officer to the fact that he was admitted and at which hospital.”

The former Blue Bulls flanker is facing four murder and two attempted murder charges relating to his alleged “killing spree” during one week in March 2011, and rape and kidnapping charges relating to events in December 2010 when he is accused of luring a young woman into his car and then keeping her hostage at the Yellowwood Park home he shared with his mother.

He has pleaded not guilty and claims not to remember anything.

Letlaka, who has testified about her son’s mental illness, diagnosed in 2009, said that after being alerted to the rape and kidnapping charges, she had gone to the Durban central police station alone because her son had not been at home at the time.

“I spoke to the investigating officers, who said the complainant had reported that it appeared the perpetrator was mentally ill.”

She asked police to help her get him to hospital, she said.

Letlaka believes her son to be so mentally ill - suffering from a “delusional disorder” - that he should not be held criminally responsible for his alleged crimes, a view shared by his psychiatrist, Abubaker Gangat.

But three other psychiatrists who assessed him at Fort Napier Hospital all reported that his attempts to cover up the crimes, and that he ran away from crime scenes, showed he knew right from wrong.

The Mercury