Sandile Mantsoe has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - More damning allegations of an abusive Sandile Mantsoe emerged in court on Tuesday from the State's third witness Puleng Mthethwa, who was Karabo Mokoena's friend.

This comes as defence lawyer,  Advocate Victor Simelane, counter-attacked assertions that his client was abusive, doing so by placing the blame firmly at the door of Mokoena's father, whom the lawyer suggested had battered the deceased.

The High Court in Joburg saw more gruesome pictures of a bruised Mokoena, with the abuse reportedly at the hands of Mantsoe.

He is facing three charges of assault with the intention to do grievous body, murder and defeating the ends of justice. 

The State contends that Mantsoe assaulted Mokoena, killed her in his Sandton apartment and then burnt and dumped her charred body in an open veld.

ALSO READ: #KaraboMokoena committed suicide, says Sandile Mantsoe

Mthethwa detailed what she recalled three incidents, which she said she saw of Mantsoe abusing the late 22-year-old.

This includes an incident on Mthethwa's birthday in March last year at Icon, Soweto, where the accused allegedly got angry after the birthday lady greeted her friend Mokoena and not Mantsoe.

"He (Mantsoe) grabbed me by the hand and asked why I didn't greet him as the head of their relationship," Mthethwa testified. 

She told of two more of Mantsoe's alleged violent episodes, including a time when the accused "smashed Karabo's phone against the wall because he wanted to imprint his fingerprints on her (iPhone)"; and when he supposedly grabbed the deceased by the neck and "pressed her against the wall" due to the 22-year-old wanting him to replace her phone.

Earlier, Mokoena's older sister Bontle, giving emotional testimony, had described how battered her sister was when she visited the deceased in hospital shortly after Mantsoe had allegedly assaulted her.

However, Simelane countered that by trying to paint Mokoena's father as an abusive man, which is why the deceased did not go home after being discharged.

Simelane used the fact that Mokoena had told her mother and sister about the alleged abuse but not her father. 

"She was able to have that conversation (of abuse) with yourself and also your mother, but not your father. Why is that," Simelane charged at Bontle.

Bontle, however, denied that her father was abusive.

Mantsoe had pleaded not guilty to all three charges he faces, saying Mokoena had committed suicide.

The accused added in court on Monday, through his lawyer, that he disposed of Mokoena's because he was afraid he would be accused of murdering the 22-year-old.

Court proceedings were postponed to Wednesday where Mokoena's mother is expected to testify.

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The Star